23 April 2010

Letters to my Grandchildren: April 2010

My beloved children,


In the US, and also in England where our American culture was born, April is known for being a rainy month. We have a saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers”. I think that saying is intended to remind people that the horrible, dreadful rain is “worthwhile because it allows the flowers to bloom later”. To me, though, the rain is as worthwhile as the flowers are. I know that some people don’t like rainy days at all, and a bitter cold driving rain in winter when we have to walk to school or to the train isn’t the most pleasant weather, it’s true. It’s nicer in warm weather, of course, but I like a rainy day any time.

Most of the time, rainy days feel calm and introspective to me. Watching a warm rain fall in the spring feels like the rain is washing the world clean and waking up the baby plants that have been sleeping all winter. Watching a windy rain storm in autumn, feels like the earth is “cleaning up” after a summer of wild growth and making ready to put Her children to bed for the winter. Somehow, it feels easier to take a deep breath and make the time to really think about things with the sound of rain pattering on the windows and roof. Of course, rain can also come with thunderstorm storms, and I love the intense energy and power of those storms. It’s a crazy thing to do, but I just love to go outside and feel the wind whipping my hair and clothes and listen to the deep rumble of thunder as a summer thunderstorm moves in. Of course, I’m not really crazy; if I see lightening, I do get inside out of danger pretty quickly.

Do you have any sayings about rain in Swedish? What do you think about storms and rain? Do you like them? Or does rain make you feel sad, as it does some people? I’d like to know what you think.

It’s spring, and of course that means that I am putting in my garden.

The gardens are much bigger this year than last year – for one thing I started earlier, and for another we are gardening for two families along with our friend, Linda. She likes to call it our “truck garden”. We have gone from our one garden plot to three. Linda has been an expert organic gardener for many years, so I am learning a LOT from her. I am also able to teach her about gardening for maximum nutrition, because she has never added soil supplements to her gardens and that’s something I have been studying for several years now. Even better, we have three strong adults and Jack to help break sod and dig in the supplements and put in the plants. We have been getting quite a lot done! The potatoes are in and the lettuce is already starting to come up. In a couple of weeks, around Mamma and farbror Corey’s birthday, it will finally be warm enough to move the more fragile plants from the house to the garden. It’s warm enough during the day already, but it still goes below freezing many nights and so the plants have to stay indoors for a while longer. Does Makata still keep a garden? Do you help her? Jack is very helpful with our garden. He digs and puts in plants and fetches things we’ve forgotten.

Jack will turn seven in a few days! That must mean that you guys are almost 8 (in September) and almost 6 (in November)! Wow! That’s really exciting! You’re getting so big! Perhaps you will both be taller than I am before I get to visit again! Do you think so? Jack is very proud that he is almost 4 feet tall! (Only one inch to go!) He can’t wait to be taller than his old mamma.

Our family has been reading Redwall by Brian Jacques lately. It’s a fun story about a warrior mouse named Matthias. Now there’s an interesting idea. One doesn’t usually think of mice as warriors. Of course, this is a fantasy world of animals such as mice, badgers, squirrels, ferrets, and rats living without any sign of humans … but the animals live much like humans do. They wear clothes and build castles and cathedrals. Matthias the mouse has to defend his home and his friends against the evil rat, Cluny the Scourge and his terrible hoard who are attacking Redwall Abbey and he has many adventures along the way. Since there are 20 more books in the series, I suppose he will win, but sometimes it’s really hard to see how he will get himself out of the scrapes he finds himself in! Perhaps you can find it in your library? It’s an excellent book! Have you read Wind in the Willows or Watership Down yet? It’s similar to those. If you read it, do tell me what you think!

We have had family portraits made, finally, for the first time! We will send those along as quickly as they arrive.

Everyone here is doing well. Rod went through a very, very hard few weeks in March, but he is now stronger and healthier than I have seen him in many years. It seems that every time he gets sick, it is very bad indeed, but when the sickness passes, he is much healthier than he was before. I like this trend! He should be strong and young before long! I am also having some troubles with avoiding the foods that make me sick – it seems that grains and grasses are hidden everywhere and I really have o eat at home where I can control every ingredient. That’s been frustrating, but I feel so much better when I do that it is coming to seem like less of a burden than it did. Jack is still and always healthy and energetic. There has been a falling out in his playgroup, so he’s sad about that, but I know that as the conflict settles down, and he starts to make more new friends, he will go back to being as happy as always!

I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you!

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