I’m not sure which.
More Flowers of the Day.
For the record, I am anti-abortion. I believe life starts at the moment of conception and that society has a responsibility to protect that life.
I just don’t think we need to write laws that prevent abortion.
Does that seem contradictory? Let me explain my logic.
We live in a society that views sex as a recreational activity with no limitations. Just turn on a television set if you don’t know what I mean. The idea of abstinence is shot down as ridiculous. I don’t agree that without abortion women are being forced to carry babies (except in the case of rape). If you consent to engage in an activity that is known to cause children, you shouldn’t be surprised if you become pregnant. Both men and women who don’t want to immediately become parents should practice birth control. It’s widely available and free in many places, although it has been known to fail occasionally.
Although some women’s reasons for having abortions seem frivolous (it’s a girl and we wanted a boy), many feel they have no choice. The timing of the pregnancy may mean financial hardship or lost opportunity. Let’s face it, having a little person depend on you for the next 18+ years means a large investment of time, energy, and money.
I hate to say it, but in the almost 50 years since Roe vs. Wade, abortion opponents have done very little to lessen the economic burden of raising children in this country. I have the horrible feeling that the people who are celebrating in the streets today are congratulating themselves that they got their cause through the Supreme Court without giving thought to what this will mean to women who find themselves inconveniently pregnant.
It’s not just their problem, it’s ours.
If we do nothing, more children in this country will grow up in poverty. The divide between the few rich and the many who are not will just grow.
There will be a baby boom, requiring better access to prenatal care and more obstetricians and birth centers. We will need more schools and better funding for them, and more teachers and other staffers who need to be paid a decent salary (which we have been failing to do in many places in the US, especially in my own state of Arizona). We will need better access to child care with good facilities and many more qualified caretakers, so that parents can afford to work. We will need more pediatricians and children’s hospitals. These need to be in place almost immediately. Oh, and it will cost money. Thank you so much, anti-abortion activists, for raising our tax bills.
Not that the government can or will provide all these things.
I am reminded of the African proverb: it takes a village to raise a child.
So I am asking you anti-abortion activists, do you just want everybody else to live by your high ethical standards, or do you really care about women and children and struggling families? Because you have an obligation to be part of the solution. Your activism is just getting started.
What can you do? Give. Give your money and yourself.
“Have you seen the spoonbill who lives here?” asked a man with a camera.
“No, I’ve never seen the spoonbill, but I see you’ve brought the big gun,” I said, pointing to the huge telephoto lens on his camera.
The Gilbert Riparian Preserve is a popular local venue for nature photographers. I posted about it in 2016 and 2017, but I hadn’t been back there since. One day last January, I drove to the 110 acre park that boasts a lake, seven ponds, hiking trails, a playground, and an observatory. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy on a weekday; I was lucky to get a parking spot. The park was full of senior citizens and parents with young children. And also lots of ducks.
When I was a little girl, we’d go to the local pond with a bag of stale bread and tear it up to feed the ducks. Bread is no longer a recommended duck cuisine. At the Preserve, only at the lake (not at the ponds) are you allowed to feed the ducks, and only birdseed, corn, and whole-grain cereal are permitted. (Most people, like the kids above, bring baggies of Cheerios.)
I think this little house sparrow wants in on the Cheerio action.
Ring-necked ducks. See the white markings on their bills?
As I wandered around from pond to pond, I found lots of things to look at and wonder about.
No blossoms in this garden in January, but as I read the dedication, I realized it was planted in honor of a baby who died the day she was born.
Benches appear throughout the preserve. This one had a placard that particularly touched me:
In one of the ponds I noticed some wading birds fishing for food.
An American avocet. See the curved-upward beak?
And further on, another turtle:
I noticed a painted rock nestled in the V of a tree trunk:
A gambrel’s quail sprinted across the trail in front of me, and I was barely able to snap a shot before it disappeared into the brush:
I won’t let another four-and-a-half years pass before I make another trip to the Preserve. Maybe I’ll see you there. . .
What’s your favorite season? Mine hasn’t changed since I was a child growing up in New Jersey–summer! I associate that season with time off for fun. Our ten weeks of summer break was deeply needed after so many months cooped up in school.
I don’t like weather that involves raking or shoveling. Winter is enjoyable here in the Arizona desert, but I still like summer better, though in the 100+ degree heat, I’d prefer to be in the pool if I have to be outside.
My ideal summer day is based on the ones I experienced as a 15-year-old. The sky would be blue, the sun warm, the temperature in the mid-to-upper 80s (though with the typical 85% humidity, it would be much less comfortable than Arizona dry heat), and I would be at the beach. I’d have a cooler with me, with cold soda and sandwiches and snacks. I’d have no responsibilities for the day—no job to go to, no meals to prepare, no appointments upcoming, no pressing deadlines to meet. And I’d have a friend with me, preferably one of the opposite sex.
When our kids were little and we still lived in New Jersey, but closer to the Pennsylvania border rather than near the Atlantic shore, we might drive half an hour to a lake to have a change of pace from the backyard pool. But my ideal day still included sun and water.
When we moved to Arizona, we bought another house with a pool, because we knew it would play a big part in our summers. A lot of people don’t like having pools, because they see the upkeep as tedious and expensive. But we had five kids. Going on a one-week vacation during the summer would cost us more than the price of a year’s worth of pool chemicals. And really, if you invest in a good pool vacuum, maintenance only takes maybe an hour or less a week (assuming you don’t have trees dropping leaves directly into the pool). When the kids were young, we were in the pool every day. The kids’ birthday parties were always pool parties (except for Andy’s—he was born in December).
Now, with our kids all grown, we are not in the pool every day from April through October. Greg’s not been in the pool in years. I average about a dozen dips per summer, though every time I go in, I wonder why I don’t do it every day.
I’ve only been in once so far this year. But Monday is Memorial Day (which in New Jersey is considered the first day of beach season), so after meditating on the sacrifices of our Armed Services, I’m planning to cool off in the pool.
I can’t wait.
Or when you’re bored with what you have to do. Or if you ever get some free time.
Surprise—my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. I feel like all my storage capacity has been filled, and it takes longer and longer to access my data, like an old worn out computer.
When I was a young adult, I could tell you the name of every teacher I’d ever had, from kindergarten to grad school. Now I can tell you only a handful of professors’ names, and few high school teacher’s names, but I do still remember my teachers from kindergarten to grade 6. Why do I remember names from childhood, but not from college?
Not that my memory was ever all that great. All my life I’ve had frequent bouts of panic when I couldn’t find my keys, my glasses, my wallet. And for decades I’ve walked into rooms without recalling why I wanted to be there.
About twenty-five years ago I had episodes while driving when I didn’t recognize where I was or remember where I was heading. After a few weeks of this, I asked my bible study group to pray for me. I was afraid I was going to have to surrender my driver’s license. Afterward, a woman asked me if I was taking antihistamines, as a friend of hers had experienced the same symptoms. At first, I said no, but then I realized my nasal spray was an antihistamine. I stopped using it, and a few days later my disorientation disappeared.
When my husband returned home after surgical complications and an extended stay in a skilled nursing facility, I was overwhelmed with his medication schedule, his doctor appointments, his physical therapy requirements, and the maintenance his feeding tube required. Suddenly there was so much to remember, and my brain was not up to it.
A few years earlier I had started a notebook with all our medical information; I just had to remember to keep it updated and bring it with me to appointments (since I couldn’t remember what tests he’d had, what the results were, or all the medicines he was taking). I sat down with the medications Greg came home from the rehab facility with, and made a chart of when he took what. I still refer to my (updated) chart each week as I set up his morning 7-day pillbox and his evening 7-day pillbox, and made sure they’re refilled regularly.
Nevertheless, mistakes happen. I get them mixed up. So far, no fatal errors, but each one raises my stress level.
I made an appointment with the neurologist, who administered tests that show I don’t have Alzheimer’s, thank God, but I do have mild cognitive disfunction. I now take medication twice a day that’s supposed to prevent my memory from deteriorating further.
I don’t think it’s 100% effective, but I’ve stopped panicking about it.
The funny thing is, every once in a while something will pop into my head—a vivid memory of an incident from the past that I’ll realize I haven’t thought about in decades. Sometimes it will be triggered by a whiff of an aroma, or a song from my childhood.
My oldest son has the most amazing memory. He remembers things that happened when he was a baby, and he can pinpoint the year of events that are fuzzy in my recollections. He remembers actors in movies, and which movies won Oscars in which years, and all sorts of trivia.
Maybe memory skips generations. I don’t know.