Sunday, November 1, 2009

Garden Muse Day: Welcome, Sweet November

This Garden Muse Day I find myself with mixed emotions. Autumn seems to have passed by so quickly, and no single poem suits my mood. Instead, I've collected several quotes here that I hope will make some sense of it all.

"Nothing gold can stay . . ."

Part of the reason I'm feeling so uninspired is that October was a lousy month. According to state climatologists, this month was the second wettest October on record in our area, with almost nine inches of rain compared to an average of 2.81 inches of rain. In the first 28 days of the month, it rained on 19 of those days.

To add to the general depressing atmosphere, I've been laid up on the couch for the last few days with an apparent case of H1N1 flu, contracted no doubt from several days spent at school where normally healthy teenagers coughed over papers and desks, determined to "tough it out." The first two days I didn't even have the energy to read blogs, but rather spent the days watching a little daytime TV in between naps. (Anyone wanting to know about a specific past episode of NCIS should contact me--I'm sure I've seen each one at least three times now.) So you can see why I've been such a grouch.

"You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by;but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by." ~James Matthew Barrie

But I don't want this to turn into one of my "whine" posts; I think I do that often enough already. Besides, in all seriousness, when one reads the news about the number of flu victims hospitalized across the country, not to mention fatalities, a few days spent napping on the couch hardly merits self-pity.

"It is no use to grumble and complain;

It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice;

When God sorts out the weather and sends rain

-Why, rain's my choice."

~James Whitcomb Riley

Life is too short to cry about a day or two of rain or feeling under the weather. I realize that each time I read posts of blogging friends who are bravely undergoing rounds of chemotherapy or dealing with loss or other hardships. This realization really hit home this week when I learned of the fate of one of our high school alumni. This young man, the youngest of five exceptional brothers and sisters, all former students of mine, was killed in Iraq this past week. A college graduate with advanced degrees, he had served our country in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and received two Bronze Stars as well as many other awards.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
John F.

I am reminded that each day is a gift no matter the weather or circumstances. It is a time to enjoy the last few days of brilliant autumn color.

To appreciate the beauty of fading blossoms . . .

And changing foliage . . .

Even the many trees now with bare branches can be appreciated
for the better opportunities for bird-watching.

"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul

and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. " ~Emily Dickinson

Changes in temperature bring new wonders . . .

And a new definition of beauty.

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
--John Burroughs

It is a new day, a new month, and a chance to experience new things. The sun is shining, and my energy is returning. Welcome, sweet November!

"Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color
and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?"
Hal Borland

Special thoughts of healing and hope go out today, too, for good blogging friend and faithful reader, Maggie May. May your news on Monday be good news.

For other thoughts for today, please visit the hostess of Garden Muse Day, Carolyn Gail of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.


  1. Enjoyed sharing your Autumn thoughts. Hope you're feeling much, much better.

    Found you at Blotanical.

  2. Well now I don't think you ever whine in your posts. Though anyone with a case of H1N1 certainly has the right to whine-you can bet I would. Get well soon. So sorry about the loss of the young man. It hits home each day for us in the most personal of ways. I think there is barely a person who has not been touched by the wars in some way. Hopefully the start of the holiday season will bring nicer news.

  3. Hi Rose, I have never read a post here that hasn't made me feel positive and smily. I can't remember you ever moaning.

    So sorry you have been poorly. It takes a while before you get all your energy back.

    Take care of yourself

    (My thoughts also with Maggie)


  4. Rose, so sorry to hear about your former student. Hope that you are soon on the mend and that the weather perks up in your neck of the woods.

  5. Thank you for quoting my favorite Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley. I think of his poems most often in the Fall, not sure why other than those classic lines "frost is on the punkin..." and "the goblin's will git you if'n you don't watch out" (or something like that). Even yesterday at the grocery store, the cashier started quoting Riley's "Perfect Prayer".

    And now stay out of those schools until the coast is clear!

  6. Hi Rose, So sorry to hear that you have been hit with the H1N1 virus. Hope you are on the mend now.
    There are many who are suffering more severe issues than we, that doesn't diminish what you or I go through. I don't think of your writing as whining....ever!
    I do like your photos, lovely shots of the changing season.

  7. I'm sorry to hear you've been under the weather. You did the smart thing by getting rest.

    We've been lucky here with our fall weather. It hasn't been perfect, but I know many areas have had miserable wet Octobers and it's a cheat with winter following.

  8. Hi Rose, sorry to hear you may have THEE flu. And really sorry to hear of your former student's death. I worried all the time when my niece's hubby was in Iraq... And thanks for making the best of November... my birthday month is often described as drab, dreary, and depressing. :)

  9. Hi Rose,
    I hope you are continuing to feel better. I had some kind of flu that turned into pneumonia, and missed 2 weeks of work February of 2007, so I can relate to what you wrote. I wasn't blogging at the time, but I remember checking my email and finding out they were cutting a bunch of trees down at our school as part of the "school improvement" project. I cried and cried.

    I'm sorry about the loss of that young man in Iraq. It's so hard to understand this kind of thing.

    I love the poem about deciding it was rain you wanted when it rains. Yes, it is good to let ourselves enjoy each day, and each season. I have to remind myself of that as summer weather leaves us.

  10. Nell Jean, Thanks so much for visiting; I enjoyed your meme today!

    Tina, Thank you for those kind words! The thing is I thought I was "old enough" to be immune to the H1N1 flu:) I know that you also understand the feeling of loss when a serviceman is killed; there will be many in this community honoring his sacrifice this week.

    Suburbia, Well, thank you--I'm glad to know I don't complain in print as much as I thought I did:) I am feeling much better and getting a little more energy each day.

    Anna, The sun is shining today, and I am feeling more energetic. I'm optimistic about November!

    Carol, I had forgotten that Riley was a Hoosier; glad I chose him! I knew I shouldn't have tried to "teach" chemistry this week--those nasty little germs must have been hiding in the test tubes:)

    Janet, Thank you--I was so disappointed with myself that I didn't get out to take better photos. One minute the leaves had turned, it seemed, and the next they had fallen to the ground!

    Sweet Bay, I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday, so I've been avoiding spreading this virus any further. Last year we had such a glorious fall--and a long one--so I guess I shouldn't complain that this year's has been so disappointing.

    Monica, I can't imagine what someone with a family member in Iraq or Afghanistan must go through each day. I usually think of November as you describe it, but it has its good points--Thanksgiving and of course, your birthday!

    Sue, I am feeling much better; the danger with this flu I've heard is the secondary infections that can occur so I've been getting LOTS of rest. At least I don't have to worry about missing work. I liked the rain poem, too, when I found it:)

  11. You are certainly no whiner Rose...and I am so very sorry you've been laid up with the flu...That can't be easy. I do hope your on the mend. It seems to double back around just when you're feeling better.

    What sadness for that young man and his family...and the way you said 'The youngest of five exceptional brothers and sister' reminded me of how close knit smaller communities are. How teachers know entire families and often their parents are friends.

    Take care of yourself some more Rose, to make sure you are good and healed from the H1N1 virus.

    A beautiful post and not at all whiny!


  12. I hope you're feeling better soon! I am also hoping we are able to get vaccines and/or dodge the swine flu bullet with our little ones around here.

    You are right about every day being a gift. It is hard to remember that sometimes, unfortunately until something unpleasant reminds one of it. Take care and get well soon!

  13. Rose Nature's remarkable healing powers have been acknowledged.Allowing time to be or see nature calms and quiets the spirit and allows healing.You did just that with this post!

  14. You are so right Rose, everyday is a gift regardless of the situation. I'm with Tina regarding you whining. I don't remember you doing that before.

    Hope you get to feeling much better soon!

  15. Thank you for your thoughts, Rose! Each day is a gift - it's a good reminder for me, especially when the NW has more and more gray wet days. Any day is a good day. I hope you feel better. My boys missed several days of school(flu)and we got our share of scare, since they said it was H1N1. Later, we learned that they call all cases of influenza A H1N1. So, we are not sure what strain of influenza A they had. Take care!

  16. I hope you are feeling better. Even so, you wrote a moving post. We seem to be surrounded by more difficulties than usual, and it is not easy to endure and say like Riley - I chose this.

  17. I'm glad you are feeling better.

    We had the fifth wettest October in history with 6 inches of rain. Hoping we get some nice weather in November--we deserve it after last month's gloomy skies.

  18. Hi, Rose;
    Visiting you via Joy's blog. Thanks for stopping by the other day.

    Sorry to hear that you've been under the weather and you certainly have plenty of reason to feel down but I love your attitude. Just deciding not be sick, or unhappy, is sometimes the best medicine. :)

  19. Thank You Rose! Your post has echoes of my exact sentiments this Fall. It was really nice to have you express your feelings, optimism and your perfectly chosen quotations to give that additional "boost!" If it's true that Misery loves company," then surely the Optimistic Spirit draws a crowd! :-) Have a great day!

  20. Dear Rose,
    Happy November.
    I enjoyed your post. You did have lots of October rain! Almost all the leaves came off my trees today. It is as if the trees put out the call to release the leaves this morning.
    I am getting my house dressed for November and taking a break to catch up.
    Glad you are feelingf better. Being sick is not fun!
    Blessings to our Vets and their families.

  21. Hi Rose....a thought provoking post, sometimes it does us all good to be reminded not to 'sweat the small stuff'

    I do, sincerely hope, you feel better soon Rose. I to think of others that have great battles ahead with their health. It is humbling. We have also lost many of our young men to wars. We view them on news items now so regularly. Each one I have shed a tear for, I will never understand war......

    I love your header....the tree looks so majestic and imposing.... and your collection of garden photographs are lovely.

    I must tell you Rose (and this is absolutely true) when I was walking Nella today you came to mind. I was thinking how dedicated you are to blogging. I notice you visit everyone and leave a comment that is worthwhile and interesting. You have rarely failed to miss my posts and I just wanted you to know, you are one of the best garden bloggers.......if not the best. So thank you for making my blogging world much more pleasurable.......

  22. So sorry you've been sick. Your quotes are wonderful. My kids had h1n1. No picnic. Hang in there.~~Dee

  23. Lovely post. So sorry to hear about your illness and your former student. I hope you get back to normal soon. Take care.

  24. Dear Rose, your quotes are the best of the best, many of my favorites, thanks so much. I hope this finds you well on your way to renewed vigor. Those darn students. You might have lost your immunity after being away from them for a while. Life is too short, was my mother's favorite saying. It worked for all occasions and helps keep things in perspective.

  25. Rose, forgive me for being so late in commenting. Your post is lovely-a bit melancholy but with hope for the future. I think that is the way a lot of us feel about fall.

    Great quotes, some familiar, some not, but all interesting. I was sorry to hear about the young man. At times it all seems so senseless.

    Hope you are finally feeling better and that you will be able to enjoy what promises to be a great fall week.

  26. You've had alot to muse over this past month Rose. Sorry to hear you were ill for awhile. The young man's loss really puts things into perspective doesn't it. My prayers go out to his family.

  27. Hi Rose,

    So happy to see you out and about! There will be no flu to keep you down! ;) Beautiful photos and words and your positive attitude shines through. One thing I often remind myself of: 'The present moment is the only moment'. Di

  28. Gail, You are quite right in saying that a small community is very close-knit. It's hard for me to go anywhere without running into a former student. It's wonderful to see how well most of them have turned out.

    Rose, The flu seems to be going around the schools, so I hope your little ones can avoid it.

    Anna, You are the one who is an inspiration to me to enjoy the present and to take in the healing powers of nature. You have touched many of us.

    Susie, Thank you, and yes, I'm doing better. I left the house yesterday and ran errands for the first time in days.

    Tatyana, Hope your family is doing better, too. I was told that any case of flu right now is H1N1, because it's too early for the seasonal flus. I'm definitely getting a flu shot as soon as I can!

    Commonweeder, I'm not always a positive person, but I try to make myself look at the positive. There are some things we just can't change!

    Marnie, I'm hoping for a good November, too!

    Kate, It's hard to feel positive when you're feeling sick, but I did catch up on my sleep:)

  29. Shady, I think we had similar conditions this past month; I'm looking forward to a better November!

    Sherry, So many of the leaves have dropped here, too. Still, there is plenty of color, especially now that the sun is shining:) I have lots of projects in the house to get done before Thanksgiving, so not much gardening will get done.

    Cheryl, What kind words! You have made my day. You have been a faithful reader since Day 1 of blogging for me and have become such a good friend that I would never miss one of your posts. It's as if we're getting together for coffee each morning.

    Dee, the kids seem to be hit the worst with the flu. Hope your family has recovered.

    Jean, November has started with sunshine, a good omen. And now I know we didn't have as much rain as some states--20 inches, wow!

    Frances, One day 1/4 of the students were absent with the flu. I was faithful about the hand sanitizer, but apparently the little germs were too strong for me. Your mother sounds like a wise lady.

    Beckie, You know that gloomy days can get me down. Looking forward to catching up on all I missed this week.

    Racquel, Looking at the problems of others usually puts things into perspective. Everyone has problems, it's how you deal with them that matters.

    Di, Wise words! One of my favorite sayings when times were tough was "This, too, shall pass."

  30. I love Autumn. But, it does seem like it never lasts too long. Especially when compared to summer and winter. I enjoyed your beautiful photos.


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