Blooming Birthday

May 15th is my birthday and I’m always eager to start planting in the garden. But this year there was snow!  What the heck? This is NOT what I asked for…somebody take it back! I woke up, saw the snow and went back to bed for another hour waiting for it to melt or to realize it was just a nightmare.

snow on my birthdayI knew no one would believe me…so I took a picture. What kind of blooming present is this? It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature…or with me for that matter. For a southern girl, like myself, it’s a cruel joke.

The rest of my birthday was fabulous, once the snow melted that is. We enjoyed some beautiful scenery on a drive to Traverse City, stopping for dinner and for me to take lots of pictures. I was in seventh heaven…and grateful to be alive to enjoy the day. This time last year I was recovering from having a pace maker implanted and still so weak after my heart attack. This year I felt very alive and very grateful to just drink in the sights becoming intoxicated by the smells of flowering trees in the cherry orchards we passed.

old barnWe had no real destination in mind. Our purpose was merely to enjoy the gorgeous weather, drinking in the sights and sounds of nature and be grateful to experience a little slice of heaven here on earth. The peace and tranquility of such a rendezvous is a tonic for the soul. The world is a beautiful place, but usually people rush through their day without noticing the simple pleasures right before them. I am grateful that I live in such a picturesque area of the country and it is easy to admire the beauty. But no matter where you live, what your life circumstances, you can find something to be grateful for, but you must open your eyes and look for these gifts.

sheep on pastureWe spotted a flock of sheep grazing in the pasture as we turned and headed to a friend’s house for a short visit. The animals were basking in the sun with nary a care in the world. They don’t worry about being on time, paying bills or getting caught in traffic. I used to have sheep and they are the most peaceful and docile animals I have ever had the pleasure of being around. They taught me to be calm, for they spook easily with loud or nervous behavior.

a friends lakeOur friend lives on a small lake in the middle of the woods where life is quiet and relatively undisturbed. At first he was alone with hardly a neighbor in sight. He is visited by wild deer that frequent his yard eating the tidbits he leaves for them to feast upon. I saw my first hummingbird for the season drinking nectar from his feeder. I heard birdsong lofting in the breeze as I wandered down to the lake to get some pictures. The peace in nature is so serene, it is unconceivable for me to live in the city again. My heart blossoms with joy at the beauty that surrounds me here.

The cherry trees are in bloom, the apple trees are just starting to blossom and the pear trees and peach trees are still loaded with lots of flowers. Did I mention I love this time of year? Our area is known as the “Cherry Capital” and you can see why.

cherry orchardI really wanted to capture the beauty of the cherry orchards in bloom on camera with the bluest sky in the background. We stopped along the road for me to take pictures and as I got out of the car I was reminded that other trees are in bloom in their own unique way. Pine trees are forming boughs of cones in spring and I nearly hit my head on one as I got out of the car. We walked along the road and admired the cherry orchard that was loaded with blossoms on a bright sunny day, promising fruit later in the summer.

pesticides sign in cherry orchardFor my birthday wish, this year and every year, is that farmers would grow our food without using all the chemicals on the trees and plants. I am like the “canary in the coal mine” and very sensitive to the toxins in our food, in our air and in our water. My body cannot detoxify the chemicals and it shouldn’t have to.

My hope is that one day all the farmers would grow our food organically. I am grateful to the farmers who have learned to work with nature and grow our food in the most organic way possible.  They know these poisons aren’t safe….they even post warning signs around the conventional farmed orchards to warn people of the dangers.

Thankfully I have found some local orchards where farmers are producing organic fruit that I can enjoy. Thank you for caring about our food, our environment and going the extra mile to make our lives much better now and for the future. This is the best birthday present I could receive….a gift that everyone can enjoy. A gift that keeps on giving.