LoveSpring: The infatuation of a season

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” 


― Pablo Neruda

Cherry Blossom Skies

Just like love spring comes with a rush of sweet exuberance. No other season has a hold on me quite like spring. It is wondrous. It is glorious and I am totally and utterly in love with it. Springtime makes me giddy and weak in the knees. Let’s just say I get all “twitterpated” and before you know it I am thrown for a loop….but it doesn’t start that way. Spring is a subtle seducer.  It starts with a sign; a small indication that winter is losing its icy grip and this seems to come earlier every year. Crazy me pays attention to these things: I will notice out of the corner of my eye in passing a tiny green shoot daring to poke itself out of the sleeping earth. All it takes is the one and then my eyes are in constant scan looking for other signs of wakefulness.

It is the snowdrops and crocus that first appear. These are hardy ones and a little snow and blustery wind of late winter doesn’t bother them. They bloom anyway. As long as the pale sun continues to shine they share their beautiful color with weary eyes tired of the cold bland landscape.

I can’t help it. By this time my mind is in a whir.  I am all aglow and practically tripping over my feet. Any glimpse of blue in the sky sends me outside no matter the chill. I shiver under the sliver of sunbeam across the back deck and imagine how it will all be in a month or two. The gardener in me is making ambitious plans. This has been happening since late January and little by little I see nature at work in its ever moving dance of life.

It is that one morning that really does it; I am awakened by an optimistic sunshine that streams through the slats of the blinds. It tickles my eyelids and slowly and playfully beckons me to wakefulness. I linger near the edges of lucidity, between reality and dreams…but it is the faint sound of birdsong that lulls me to full arousement.

How could I not be happy waking up like this? How could anyone?

Spring is a time of renewal. There is a certain optimism in the air; a sort of bouncy happy effervescence and it is infectious.

The squirrels have caught it for sure. I can’t help but laugh at their antics. As they chase each other up and down the just about to bloom  flowering cherries across the street, they seem caught up in the season as well. The Robins have appeared, a sign of spring if there ever was one. I delight in the way they hop around the yard searching for their breakfast, which they are finding with a gusto; the rains of the night before have softened the earth and beckoned the worms to the surface.  This provides an easy meal not just for the Robins for for others as well. I can see four different kinds of birds just outside my window.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

White Cherry Blossom in Spring (Credit: N.L. McKinley)

The flowering cherries cry out to be photographed and I cannot resist. The Yoshino Cherry in my front yard is the true essence of loveliness. The bees think so too…

bee in Yoshino Cherry blossoms credit N.L. McKinley

Cherry Blossom pink with stormy sky credit N.L. McKinley

There is a contrast between seasons this time of year; storm clouds and sunbeams clash and provide an interesting backdrop to a flowering cherry in the park down the street.

Yellow Spring Credit N.L. McKinley

The vibrant Forsythia in my mother’s yard in all it vivid glory.

Rhododendron pink by N.L McKinley

One of the many Rhododendrons in bloom.

Camellia pink at Grotto Credit N.L McKinley

Now that it is officially spring on this side of the hemisphere my love affair with the season can go into full swing.  Life is wonderful and so is being in love and in the springtime everything is possible.

Wishing you a lovely day!

Strawberryindigo.

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” 
― Helen Keller
Happy Spring!
Happy Spring!

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IRISH

irish_girl_vintage_rosie_riveter  Irish vintage

 “Someone called me “Irish” like it was something bad…something to be ashamed of.  He meant it as a dig in reference to my so called stubbornness, my pride. my willingness to see the truth for what it is and call it. He called it haughty, he called it “Irish” and I wore it like a badge of honor.”

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I R I S H   P R I D E

It is not boastful pride or a belief that one person is better than another. It’s a pride in oneself and one’s heritage. It is honor and affection for loved ones, friends and comrades. It is standing up tall and looking everyone you meet straight in the eye and saying; this is who I am and I am proud. I don’t care if I am perfect, nor would I be if I could. It is rising in the face of adversity and succeeding. It’s staring down a sea of troubles and having a good laugh.

It is sticking up for oneself and standing for what you believe in…even if you are the only one. It is seeing life through the eyes of a hopeful child; no matter what has happened in the past– tomorrow is a new day and one’s luck can change in a flash of an instant. It is believing in magic and that dreams can come true but in order for that to happen one must work at them too.

It’s that spirit I think of when I think of the Irish.

I think of heart, soul and family and the wide green world around us. Ireland doesn’t have the monopoly on green or spirit. That is within us all….that  is the human spirit.  Today we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Today we are all Irish.  Everyday we are human with thoughts and dreams and ambitions. Don’t ever let anyone tell you can’t do anything, for there isn’t anything you cannot do.

Green-Carnation4

When I think of the Irish I think of my father who was 100% Irish and damned proud of that too. He always had a smile for everyone he met and a “wee crack” to tell down at the bar to his friends. He was a good man who took care of his family and never had an unkind word for anyone. He always brought me a green carnation every St. Paddies day. He is gone from this earth now but his memory lives on in me and my brothers and sister and our families.  Every time I smell the scent of carnation I am reminded of him and how much he loved this day.

Sometimes a day can be like that; gaining meaning over the course of your life and how something as insignificant as a green carnation can hold so much.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig

~Nancy
Sunset at Donegal, Letterkenny, Ireland
Sunset at Donegal, Letterkenny, Ireland

“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” 
― Oscar Wilde

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the-troubles5 IRA Ireland

“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.”
Winston Churchill
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“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. 

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.” 

― C.E. Murphy

Cat-Guiness Irish

“Beware of people who dislike cats.”

― Irish Proverb

Whitepark Rd, Antrim county, Nothern Ireland
Whitepark Rd, Antrim county, Nothern Ireland

THE IRISH

Be they kings, or poet, or farmers, they’re a people of great worth. They keep company with the angels. And bring a bit of heaven here to Earth.

~Irish Saying

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Green Tunnel2 Ireland
“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand” 
― Irish Blessings

 

Big-Vintage-IRISH-Flag-Shamrock

“Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels. All of these have music woven through and around them. Tunes for dancing or for weeping, for battle or for love.”
― Nora Roberts

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References, Related Articles and Items of Interest

IRISH APES: TACTICS OF DE-HUMANIZATION (thesocietypages.org)

Ireland Facts (infoplease.com)

 Castleblayney, Ireland
Castleblayney, Ireland

Schools of Thought: The benefits of an educated populous

vintage-school-kids-life-magazine education
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
― Plutarch

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What is the value of a  productive member of a society? In what ways does a civilization benefit from the works of an educated and thriving population? Does society in fact benefit so greatly from an educated workforce and a knowledgeable citizenry that to deny this benefit is not only not beneficial at all but wasteful and just plain stupid.

There is no doubt to the value of a college education or work training. Society benefits greatly from a workforce that has been fully prepared for the diverse and challenging workplace of today. The cookie cutter one-size-fits-all, the test-test-test atmosphere of the current educational system in The United States is, in my opinion, sorely lacking.

Society benefits from a educated workforce in many ways: higher levels of education corresponds to lower levels of unemployment and poverty in general and this in turn provides more tax revenue to the state and less burden on social assistance  programs such as food stamps and welfare. An educated populous is healthier with lower smoking and obesity rates and with more positive perceptions of personal health in general.  Higher levels of education are correlated with higher levels of civic participation, including volunteerism and voting.

If there is no doubt to the benefits of an educated populous, why are we so lacking?

There’s no shortage of people who care and it is not from the lack of effort from many dedicated educational professionals, parents, volunteers and students.. on all fronts.  There is certainly much debate on this subject of how to fix our broken educational system, it is obvious that indeed it is broken. We can all agree on that at least. Whatever we are doing is not working, but we cannot seem to reach a consensus on how to fix the problems.  In my opinion  part of the problem is as with many issues, we are going by the blueprint of another era. Our models and way of thinking is outdated. The world is undergoing rapid change on many fronts and we are dealing with issues we never would have dreamed up even a decade ago. We rely too heavily on what has “worked” in the past and I think we tend to cling too tightly to tradition and ceremony. Innovation is viewed with a cautious and weary eye. It seems whenever new ideas that work on a smaller scale are implemented on the much larger scale disaster happens. This could be part of our problem as well. We approach education with a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Diversity and innovation are not only not encouraged but discouraged. Feel-good, do-nothing campaigns with misleading names that embrace cheap easy answers only compound the problem.

Students are more likely to be taught what to think not how to think for themselves.

In the effort to provide certain standards we have over standardized ourselves. We have pigeon-holed our thinking that everyone learns the same way.  We know this is far from the truth as many factors determine the success of a student including socioeconomic status.  The successful student is more likely to be a successful adult, meaning one who contributes positively to the community and society in general.

Many don’t get this chance. Many perfectly capable people are lost in a system that rewards who you know and what you have instead of what one can do and the content of your character.

I can’t help but notice how illogical this system is where we base how someone will contribute to society by the economic status that one is born into. Opportunities are missed and talents squandered.  The best person for a particular job or profession may not necessarily be the person who’s parents could afford to foot the bill for the education required.

I think about all the bright people with talents and ideas that will never be realized because of their geographic and/or economic status. I think of the result of that lost potential; the loss to society and the world at large.

There is no doubt that a mind is a terrible thing to waste yet this is what happens. People come in all sizes and shapes; all kinds of backgrounds, socially and economically. A diverse population brings to the table a wide array of talents and experiences. This is one of the aspects that have made the United States so successful in the past. This and our capability for dedicated, hard work.

Oak-Trees

We have it in us to become great but we need the valuable contributions of us all in order for that to happen. Good ideas are like seeds they not only need to be exposed to the light, they need care and feeding order to grow. Good ideas can sometimes become great ones and like a mighty oak tree provide shade for many on a hot day.  And oh my friends don’t let a blast of wintry weather in the winter fool you…we are going to have quite a few hot days in the future and we need all the oak trees we can get.

 

Student Loan Debt education

We can longer afford to throw away the minds and talents of people who weren’t born at the right place at the right time to the right parents. We can no longer afford to punish those who seek an education “above their” station” by saddling them with the crushing burden of potentially lifelong debt.  There is too much at stake.

quote education noam

We the people need to make this a priority. The middle class should be on the endangered species list and a part of the widening gap between those that have and those that have not is the access to higher education and work training beyond high school. This should not be a luxury for only those who can afford it it should be the right for all citizens and a necessity of any modern civilized society that wants to have a chance in the global marketplace.

One of the best things about human beings is our innate talent for creation and innovation and the ability to work effectively to realize a dream fulfilled or have an idea come to fruition.  We are smart and capable, all of us regardless of race, color, sex , religion….or the economic status we are born into.

The American dream is alive but it’s lying in a hospital bed sicker than a dog…gasping and sputtering and wondering what went wrong. It is up to us to fix this mess.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
―    Nelson Mandela

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.
andy College grads throw hats by Alannah Rose
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References and related articles

Five stereotypes about poor families and education (washingtonpost.com)

Higher Education cuts fuels student debt crisis (america.aljazeera.com)

Where U.S. stands in education internationally — new report  (washingtonpost.com)

Six Years of High School? An Educational Experiment in Chicago (thetakeaway.org)

Strange Schools (atlasobscura.com)

Fresh Quotes: March MADNESS

Here I am.  It is a quarter till midnight on the last day of February. I am floating beyond both the physical and the intellectual into a  soft and fluffy sort of sugary mind-zapping void that not only resides in but thrives in wide stretches of the world wide web…..otherwise known as “the internets”.

I am currently googling “vintage strange people fun” and seeing the array of absurdities parading before my very eyes.  (If you have never done this I highly recommend it.)  …okay, I have a lot of time on my hands but not as much as you’d imagine…it is that important.  Mad you say?  Perhaps….

I start giggling then laughing which gives way to loud and succinct guffaws. I try to stop but keep giggling….oh my family must think me mad…..

She’s quite mad you know…

strawberry smile

Here’s proof…..

mad insanity certificate 001

There’s more than one kind of madness. There is the crazy “out there” wacky madness. For example my conversations with random squirrels around town, recording this nonsense and putting it on YouTube.  That is a fun kind of madness the type that many young eccentrics like myself and probably you too enjoy.

There is also the sort of madness that comes about when the squirrels talk back. This is a not so fun kind of madness, depending really on what they say. An example of the worst kind of madness is when the talking squirrels start criticizing your life choices and making fun of your colorful outfits.

Today we’ll be concentrating on the fun variety of madness; the kind that has been scrubbed clean of any unpleasantness with a good strong anti-bacterial soap.

What follows is an example of quotable madness accompanied by some trippy pics with a side of SBI.

Happy March my friends,

Enjoy the madness

~SBI

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M A D N E S S

strange-and-funny-vintage-animal-photographs-4 mad

“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”
 Douglas Adams

Vintage Intelligent Animals (1) elephant mad

“Humor is reason gone mad.”
― Groucho Marx

1920s-flapper-dances11 mad vintage

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
 Marilyn Monroe

att00025 vintage odd strange lard

“The mad are happy, the sane ignorant; those of us stuck on the sane side of madness or the mad fringe of sanity are in a purgatorial cage.”  

~Anonymous

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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac

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“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
 Philip K. Dick

jimi hendrix madness mad hatter wonderland

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll

quote moon ginsberg moon purple

girls-moon-space-stars-vintage-Favim.com-221897-1 madness

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.”
― Aldous Huxley

Vintage Photos of Animals Acting Like People (16)

“Stay mad, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.”
 Paulo Coelho

quote mad carrol 1 black

MAD YouTube

One Step Beyond by Madness

Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill

Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

MAD Articles

The Mad Artist (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)