Spring always surprises me. I walk between the patches of snow still clinging to the ground and marvel at the life peeking through the earth.

‘Is it time?’, they whisper.

‘Not yet,’ comes my reply. ‘Wait two or three more weeks for the Earth to turn her eager face to the sun a bit more.’

But do they listen to me? Nope. Thinking they know best, they push up into the still frigid air. Ha, they’ll get a wake-up call when Old Man Winter breathes on them one more time before he heads on his way.

Tulips in early Spring.

Okay, I’ll admit it–plants and animals know more than me. They know when it’s time to sprout…

Pussy willows sprouting along the Concord River.

… and when it’s time to form a mating bond.

Northern cardinal - songbirds - red - male - female - courtship - mating
Male Northern cardinal feeding his mate.

I woke a few mornings ago to the liquid trill of a White-throated sparrow. His song sounded like spring itself, announcing her arrival.

Male White-throated sparrow.

Although, I continue to believe the best sound to announce spring are the peeps of spring peppers. As Margaret Wise Brown wrote in her children’s book Pussy Willow: “When the peepers peep, then it is Spring”

Spring peeper. Photo courtesy of

A flock of robins came through my yard a little over a month ago. A day of cheerful chatter as they cleaned out every last berry on my viburnum bush and winterberry branches.

American robin.

Dozens of red breasts flashed in the sunlight and then, poof, they were gone, off to some other location where the berries were plentiful. Soon they’ll return, hungry for the fat worms stirring within the ground.

American robin yanking on a worm.

Spring in New England is not as lush as some southern locations. I’m sure spring sees gardeners in Georgia sitting amongst their hydrangeas as the hummingbirds zip by. (Damn, I would love for my hydrangeas to be this lush. Perhaps I should move to Georgia.)

Photo courtesy of Southern Living.

No matter. Spring in my little corner of the Concord River offers its own brand of beauty. The blush of the rising sun is mine to command.

The Mute swans dance just for me.

Mute swans.

The eagle carries me on his wings and we soar over the river.

American bald eagle.

Yes, spring in my world is full of beauty. And at night, in the silver cast of the moon, I fall asleep to an owl’s lullaby.

View from my bedroom window.

And…surprise! Here they come.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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A Song for March

I hear my name on the wild wind
It calls for me to come and play
Snow and ice melt away before my feet
I wrap the hope of warmer days around my shoulders

I seek out the life emerging in my midst
Pink to announce the return of the peonies
Red for the coming blush of a rose
They beckon in their colorful displays

But March is a fickle month
More so than the god for which it is named
This month refuses to set its mind to what it will bring each day
Cold nights and snowy landscapes are still to be had

When I run with the pups we do not tarry in the shade
For the fingers of March leave a chill against my cheeks 
I stand in the sun with my arms raised and I listen to the wind's melody
And reach for spring as I sing a song for March.

I often wonder why the browns of March are so distinct from the browns of January. Just like the acrylic paints I buy, expensive pigments create rich, deep tones. This must be what is happening in March–Mother Nature is using a higher quality paint to color her world. Or perhaps its the new life swelling under the soil and at the tips of the tree branches. Or the golden afternoon sunlight as it reflects off the river and a Wood duck’s crest.

wood duck - male - drake
Wood duck drake.

No matter the reason, I go on record that the colors of March are more intense, more mesmerizing, more hopeful than the colors of January.

March is the time of year when I eagerly await the postman, or postwoman. My mailbox is often stuffed with seed and flower catalogues. I imagine my excitement at receiving the newest Bluestone Perennials catalogue is akin to someone from the 1920’s getting her Sears catalogue.

Regardless of whether I plan on buying a new plant, I absorb every detail in the catalogue. Each description brings to mind the coming warm summer days that I’ll lazily spend sipping lemonade while basking in the glory of my gardens.

Or hot summer days where I’ll toil away in the punishing humidity trying to keep my plants from dying due to the drought.

It’s all good; March is a time for dreaming.

My glorious gardens, 2022.

Bailey has grown like the weeds that threaten to take over my gardens. She is now eight months old and I call her my little chocolate muffin. Oh how I wish I could nibble her nose.

Bailey, 8 weeks.
Bailey, 8 months.

She loves to annoy the cats, prancing after them, her tail almost wagging her rear end off. She’ll make a sportive dash at Sam who dashes away but Oreo always stands with a ready paw. After a while the three of them are best friends. As for Harlee, he sits and watches. At ten years of age, he has no desire to chase anything that isn’t edible.

Oreo, doing what he does best–napping.

One of the downsides of March is the mud the dogs track into the house. I try to be firm at holding them in the doorway to have their paws wiped but they are so happy to have spent time bounding through the yard, I hate to spoil their fun. Plus they smell of fresh air and the warming sunshine. So, I let them run across the room to the water dish and I follow behind with a wet rag for the floor.

Bailey and her sister, Grace, playing in the yard.

Two Bald eagles have been terrorizing my ducks. It’s nesting time for eagles and the eaglets have hatched and need to be fed. What better for a young eagle to eat than a fat Mallard?

Listen closely and you’ll hear the Mallard hen quacking for help.

March is a wonderful month to host a party. With the coming of the Spring Equinox and the lengthening of the days (but, oh how I despise DST), it’s great to have one’s home filled with the warmth of friends and family, the scents of a crackling fire in the hearth, and a roast in the oven.

I loved planning gatherings but, sadly, my life has changed in that it’s just me, the dogs and cats, and the ducks. And my son, thank Goddess. I am open to invitations, though (hint, hint).

May March carry joy to you and yours.

Female House Sparrow.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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What do I do now?

I’ve been living in my little corner of the Concord River for ten years.

Back in March, 2013, I bought my house and began my journey as River Lady. A lot has happened since I signed the closing documents and accepted the keys.

The keys to my kingdom, circa 2003.

But what of the ten years before my journey on the Concord River began?

Twenty years ago I ran the Disney World 10th Anniversary Marathon. It was a very, very, very cool experience.

26.2 miles later in 2003 with my pal, Goofy.

I ran as part of the American Stroke Association’s program to raise money for stroke research. Since my father had died from a stroke, the program was near to my heart. I’ll never forget the feeling of satisfaction when I crossed the finish line. I’ll also never forget the pain!

In the ten years that followed I ran a second marathon, moved five times, got married then divorced then remarried then divorced (all to the same man — yeah, I know), went through bankruptcy, foreclosure, fell and ruptured a cervical disc, adopted two dogs, and made a s#@tload of stupid mistakes, remarrying the same man not included.

Living through those ten years was like being strapped to a roller coaster designed by Hades.

Yup, that decade was one for the books.

The past decade has brought with it a few more surprises, some good, some not so good. More stupid mistakes and some smart decisions, although I’m pleased to write I’m no longer strapped into Hades’ death-defying spirals. The ride I’m on now has gentle swoops and turns, thanks to my medication. Ahhhhh.

So, let me ask, what do I do now?

Seriously, I need to know.

I figure I might have ten good years left in me, give or take a year or two, and I have no clue what to do with myself.

Buying a new house isn’t an option, partly because I can’t afford to buy anything and partly because I don’t want to leave my corner of paradise. However, I must say that as more people move into my area with their speed boats and chain saws, my little corner is getting crowded. But I’m here for the time being.

So, again I ask: What do I do now?

Have I mentioned that over the past five months I have fallen more than three dozen times?


Some of the falls were due to my left leg deciding it no longer wanted to work. Sometimes my left foot wouldn’t make it over the riser of a step and sometimes my left leg would give out as I was walking.

Gravity and I are not friends.

Other falls happened because the Earth shifted. I’m not kidding; it’s like living on a boat. One second I’m standing and then boom, I’m kissing the floor.

A few falls occurred because of snow and ice. Gotta love old man winter.

Remember Rocky? The Italian Stallion? If you don’t, I must ask: Have you been living under a rock?

Pic from the movie Rocky Balboa

Anyway, Rocky said in the Movie Rocky Balboa: “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

Soooooo, every time I fall I pick myself up and shuffle forward.

But I’m still asking “What do I do now?”

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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The Starfish Story: one step towards changing the world


You may have heard this one, but I find that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of it every once in a while.  First let me tell you the story, and then we can talk about it. 

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. 

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man…

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A Retelling of an Old Tale

I’ll get to writing soon, I promise, but it’s taking longer than I expected to gather my scattered thoughts. Until I return, here is a blast from the past…2017.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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Grief and Grieving

In Greek mythology, there is a story about Sisyphus, who was the founder and king of Ephyra. The short version of the legend is this: Zeus punished Sisyphus for his trickery (he was a cunning man) and, for cheating death twice, forced Sisyphus to roll an immense boulder up a mountain. The added punishment was that the boulder, each and every time it neared the summit, would roll down, forcing Sisyphus to repeat the task for eternity.


I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve begun this post with the fable of Sisyphus.

Or, maybe you’ve used the title of the post to help solve that particular puzzle.

You see, today, November 23, 2022, marks three years since ovarian cancer claimed my sister, and each and every day since that Saturday in 2019 I have pushed a boulder of grief up a proverbial mountain to only have it tumble down, forcing me to repeat the task the following day.

Some of you reading this post might say, ‘Enough already, get over it; it’s been three years, for goodness sake.’

The truth, though, is that we all grieve at our own pace.

Don’t get me wrong, I manage to find reasons to laugh, smile, sing, dance, and enjoy ice cream. More so now that I’ve finally climbed out of my rabbit hole of depression thanks to the magic of chemistry. Seriously, now that I’m back on an antidepressant, suicidal thoughts have been banished and I can see sunshine where dark clouds of despair once filled the sky.

Sadly, antidepressants don’t remove grief. Loss of a loved one, be it a person or cherished pet, is a tough boulder to carry. You just get that damn rock near the top of the mountain, convinced you’ll reach the summit, and something simple as a scent, or song on the radio, or a flower, sends you tumbling down the mountain, with the boulder pounding your soul and heart as it rolls over you.

But for today I refuse to move the immense stone of my grief. I’ll let it rest at the mountains base and I’ll eat a lemon donut (my sister’s favorite type of donut), have a cup of pumpkin spice coffee (another of her favorites) and I’ll let my sadness bath me in its warmth.

Tomorrow I’ll get back to moving that damn rock.

Blessed be :}

Dyan Gonnella

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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One Season Following Another

Laden with happiness and tears.

I’ve been through many tough summers; summers where I shed endless tears. Like the summer after my mother died–boy did I cry that summer. I remember it rained a lot; always dreary and wet outside.

Then there was the summer of 2020, after my sister died. Another fountain of tears filling my little corner of the world.

The years pass.

Happiness and tears sweep us along with them as the tune plays out.

Well, even though there are tears in my life right now, they are not from seeing Summer 2022 in my rearview mirror. My tears are from depression and the darkness that surrounds me on a daily basis. But I don’t want to blog about depression because depression sucks and I’m tired of life sucking.

Let’s focus, instead, on saying goodbye to one truly sucky season–Summer 2022.

Goodbye Summer 2022

Male Northern Cardinal

The season clung to my corner of the Concord River with a feverish intensity — hot, sticky, and bone dry; like a layer of plastic wrap had sealed in the humidity and blocked out all else–including the rain.

I spent my mornings watering as many of my plants that I could while keeping to the restrictions the town’s water department had put in place due to the drought.

A few of my plants died, some wilted because I was unable to water them to the depth they needed, and some languished then perished slowly due to fungus or bacterial wilt.

The heat didn’t keep the spiders from doing their things, though.

Here are some other highlights from Summer 2022.

An Abundance of American Goldfinches helped to brighten my gardens.

Male American Goldfinch pulling apart my zinnia.

My zinnias didn’t stand a chance.

A cool assortment of birds hung out along, and on, the river.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds didn’t miss a beat when it came to gracing my yard.

Alas, they leave so very soon. It seems as if they were just heading my way and now they’re flying south.

Leave the nectar feeders up until at least the end of October. We have to make sure the stragglers have nourishment for their long flight.

Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Be safe, little ones.

Juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

I had an assortment of lacy insects flutter through my yard.

Silver-spotted Skipper
Monarch Butterfly
White Geometrid Moth.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.

During one of the rain storms, my water-collecting buckets also collected frogs.

Seriously, I hang the buckets to catch water from my down spouts, as a way to gather water for my gardens, and I ended-up with frogs!! From my gutters?! I thought when it rained frogs we were in big trouble?

The ducks behaved like odd ducks. They took a liking to the top of the oak slag.

Female Mallards.

So had the Cooper’s Hawk.

As did a Mourning Dove.

Mourning Dove.

And a Merganser.

Juvenile Hooded Merganser.

And a Common Flicker and Carolina Wren shared the high perch in search of delicious insects.

Common Flicker on the right; Carolina Wren on the left.

Imagine all the sad wildlife I would have if I had cut down the tree all the way to the ground. Good for me for keeping the slag. If you’re taking down a tree, leave a portion for the animals who live nearby. The Universe will send you Karma chips if you do.

Summer 2022 was a difficult gardening season. Keeping the plants watered while conserving water felt like I was juggling air and smoke. I wish I had the mindset of some of the local residents in town who were watering their lawns everyday. Lush, green lawns that need lots and lots of water.


I’m not sorry to see Summer 2022 end. She wasn’t kind to the planet and she wasn’t kind to my little corner of the Concord River.

Listen up, Autumn, pull it together and be nice to me or…well, I don’t know what I can do but I won’t be happy, that’s for sure.

May the bounty of the season be yours. 

And my you have cool nights, crisp mornings, and gentle rain to lull you to sleep.

Happy Autumn. 

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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Tears of Fear…Oh Dear

There are lots of types of tears. There are tears of sadness and grief, tears of regret. Anxiety tears are up there on the list with tears of fear and worry. And of course there are tears of joy. Do you think a person can shed tears of joy, fear, worry, and anxiety at the same time? Does the mingling of emotions alter the taste of the tears?

The simple answer is no, the taste is the same–salty.

Okay, here’s the deal, I decided to adopt a puppy. OMG!

I’ve been wanting to bring another dog into my home for about two years. A playmate for Harlee (Yeah, right, does he look like he wants a playmate?)

Harlee’s thoughts: ‘You have got to be kidding me! First the cats and now a puppy!’

Well, on Monday, August 22, a little after 5:00 PM, my newest family member came home.

Meet Bailey.

Bailey, being held by the breeder.

Bailey is a chocolate lab who loves playing in water. Yup, this old lady who lives on a river adopted a dog who loves water.

Bailey has been home six nights, I’ve cried myself to sleep on half of them.

Some of my tears were tears of joy because, let’s face it, puppies are bundles of furry joy. But my tears were also a mixture of fear that I’ll somehow screw up Bailey’s life and she’ll become a terror dog; tears of anxiety that I won’t train Bailey correctly and she’ll need therapy when she’s older, and tears of worry that I’m too old to take care of a puppy.

Wah, wah, wah.

The nights went something like this: Bailey is asleep in her crate and I smile and sniffle as I watch her dear little body peacefully nuzzling her stuffed puppy. (The very same puppy Harlee stole out of Bailey’s crate before she came home.)

After watching Bailey for a while I would turn my attention to puppy training videos on YouTube. After about 20 videos I would become convinced I wouldn’t be able to raise a reasonably sane dog and the floodgates would open.

Look at that face…

…now do you understand my fear? I want to give her the best possible life but I became convinced I would mess up.

Yes, I know Harlee is a well-behaved, happy dog but he was at least two when he came into my life. Puppies…well, as one video trainer stated: ‘Puppies can be irreparably damaged if they are not trained properly in the first three months of their lives.’


I only had one month to get the whole thing right?

Cue the tears.

I didn’t even own a puppy puzzle!


My rescue came in the form of my son, who reminded me that raising a puppy is both exciting and frightening but that I’m a smart woman who is capable of doing a great job.

My smart son and Bailey, August, 2022.

And my friends Bob, Jill, and Rachel, who gave me a puppy puzzle.


So from this point on I am swearing off dog training videos and going with my gut, and the trainer for the puppy class Bailey I and will be attending in September.

I feel much better. And you know, tears of joy taste the best.

Bailey, eight weeks old.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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Time to Reap What We Have Sown

Blessed Lughnassadh.

Photo by

Lughnassadh (pronounced loo-na-sah) marks the almost halfway point between Litha, the summer solstice, and Mabon, the fall equinox and is one of the eight Wiccan sabbats. Back in the day, way back, it was a time to harvest the first grain crop and bake breads for the family and community.

Those of us who are pagan also celebrate this sabbat by baking–breads, cookies, cakes. Yes, even if the outside temperature is a toasty 99° F (37.22°C for those of you savvy with the Celsius scale).

And who doesn’t love cake? Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Delicious Pound Cake

Recipe courtesy of


  • 3 ¼ cups white sugar
  • ¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup 1% milk


  • Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C).
  • Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  • Cream sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 45 seconds after each addition.
  • Add vanilla extract and beat for 30 seconds.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  • Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.
  • Add 1/2 cup milk and beat on low speed until just blended.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula between each addition. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.
  • Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, filling no more than 2/3 full. Smooth the top with a spoon or a spatula.
  • Lick spoon or spatula.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
  • Allow to cool completely before serving.
  • Top with ice cream, strawberries, whipped cream, or other lovely delights.

While you’re waiting for the cake to bake, write a list of all the things that form your bountiful harvest. Or type the list, it’s all good. Don’t stop until the cake is finished baking.

And here’s an idea, bake a few extra loaves of pound cake and bring them to your neighbors, just like the people did back in the day.

Way back.

May your harvest be bountiful and sustain you through the cold winter months.
May the Goddess protect you.
May you find peace and kindness.
May you live with ease and joy.
Monarch Butterfly.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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What did we do?

Back when I was young my family owned a Dutch Colonial house, modest in size, two stories, with a basement and small yard. Trees shaded the back of our house and one of the side yards, and a row of lilac bushes formed the boundary between the opposite yard and our neighbor’s driveway, until a new neighbor cut them all down.

‘Oh, I didn’t know they were on your property. Sorry.’

Yeah, right, stupid jerk.

Oh, before we go any future, I should warn you that at the present time I am very cranky.

My father was self-employed, and my mother tended the house and the kids. There were four of us, three girls and one boy; I was the youngest. We weren’t poor but not quite middle-class either. Somewhere near the bottom of the pile. Pasta and Jello formed many of our suppers (Yup, I’m from Medford, or Medfah, as we called it; we didn’t have dinnah–we had suppah.)

My father worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. He and my mother provided ample love and guidance, until a stroke claimed him when I was 12. But this post isn’t about him dying, this post is about the summers when I was young–and heat.

All the bedrooms were on the second floor. My sisters and I slept in a bedroom facing the backyard, my brother had his own room, about the size of a closet, and my parents had a room facing the front of the house. We were all happy until the dark years arrived (There I go again…. sorry.)

Please understand my memories are good ones, for the most part.

Now comes the big question: What did we do during the summers when the outside temperatures soared into the 90’s?

We didn’t have air conditioning, just two box fans, strategically placed in a couple of windows to draw out the hot air. I would reverse the stream and stand in front of the fan in the dining room window until my mother came running in, scolding me, (yes scolding, not yelling or swatting, just scolding) that I was bringing the hot air into the house.

At night my father would set up a tall standing fan so that it blew up the stairs. Needless to say, our house always sounded like an airplane hangar.

Were summers cooler back in the fifties and sixties or are my memories selective? I don’t remember it but the second floor must have been as hot as Hades, yet here I am today, unable to stand the heat, and I have three window air conditioners and eight fans and my house is only 500 square feet!

Yup, still living in an airplane hangar.

Some days my mother would bring my siblings and me, along with a cooler, towels, and other beach necessities, and we would ride public transportation to Revere Beach. Again, my memories are failing me. The adult me knows it would have taken one bus, and two subway trains to get us to the beach but when I look back it seems we magically appeared on the boulevard.

On Sundays our dad would come with us to the beach, and we would dig for clams.

You should know that digging for clams takes talent and skill. You can’t use a shovel or trowel because if you hit the clam, you’ll crush its shell and then it’s of no use to anybody, not even another clam. The only tool you need are your fingers. Only amateurs use shovels.

Seriously, pros use their fingers.

Here’s how one goes about digging for a clam:

Kneel in shallow water with a plastic bucket by your side. The bucket should be blue or pink. When the wave recedes look for air bubbles on the surface of wet sand and dig like crazy. Clams are fast so you had to be quick. If you scraped half your fingernails and skin off in the digging process, so be it. No glory without pain.

Once you caught the clam you tossed it in your bucket and waited for the next wave.

Good times. Digging for clams under the sweltering sun.

Again, let me emphasize that I don’t remember it being all that hot.

I remember the rides home being sandy and sweaty but joyous. Suppah was a delicious meal with margarine dripping from the chewy necks of the clams; steaming corn on the cob drenched in margarine; and Jello for dessert.

After watching the black and white television in our family room bedtime would come. When my sisters came to their beds, and my brother was in his, my parents would sit outside in a little house that my father had built. It actually was a little house, so we named it the Little House.

Oftentimes neighbors would come over and join them and us kids would sit by the bedroom window and listen to the adults. The soft murmur of their voices, the clinking of the ice in their glasses, the glow of their cigarettes was a lullaby I’ll never forget. Every now and then someone would say something that must have been funny because the voices would rise in a collective laugh.

Again, I must ask: It must have been hot, right? What did we do to endure the heat or is it hotter now, in 2022, then it was back in the late 1950s?

On a few occasions we would pile into the family car and head to the drive-in theater. I remember seeing Sleeping Beauty at the drive-in. Let’s see, it came out in January of 1959. We would have seen it the following summer, making me almost five years old.

I recall that night as if it happened last night, but I don’t recall the summers being hot.

It may be an adult thing. Maybe my parents felt the heat more than my siblings and I did because we were kids, and they were…well…old.

Now I’m old and let me tell you I’m ready to run into the river while screaming at the top of my lungs. And not because of joy.

The heat wave of this past week has been brutal. Hot, humid, sultry, sweaty, stifling, and damn steamy. But when I’m sitting outside (because I can’t stand being cooped-up in the airplane hangar I call home) I can hear the kids down the street playing. Their shouts of joy stir the air and I sigh with relief as a cooling breeze travels to my backyard and plays among my wilting flowers.

And I smile despite the sweat dripping from my upper lip.

Perhaps it is a kid thing.

Hot temperatures roll off a child’s back like the water in my river rolling off my ducks’ backs.

And that’s exactly how it should be because hot summer days were made for kids.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.

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