Much to be thankful for; many to care for

By Joanne Peterson | Mar 20, 2014

I’m becoming accustomed to Daylight Savings Time, and think I’ve finally set all my clocks ahead for the season. Rain has settled in prior to the Thursday start of springtime.

Pink flowering trees, white azaleas and yellow forsythias shine with wet blossoms. When I walk around town in the late afternoon, I often don’t bother to put up the hood on my old Gore-Tex jacket, on the premise that I can dry out once I get home. The air feels fresh against my face.

As I write this, it is a damp Sunday afternoon. A log burns in the fireplace, and candles glow. PLU-broadcast jazz drifts through the living room, and my house smells of freshly-cooked soup. After three weekends out of town, a weekend at home is a pleasure.

This time last week, I was driving homeward over clear, wet Stevens Pass Highway 2, thankful for good travel conditions. Yesterday, by contrast, chains were required on that mountain pass.

If the memorial service I attended for my friend in Wenatchee last week had been scheduled a week later, I’d not have made the trip. I am feeling fortunate for that time of remembrance, a complex time of saying good-bye to one friend and re-connecting with others.

Now, at the beginning of a typical mild Pacific Northwest spring, I hear that winter storms are closing in – again – from Delaware to Missouri. How do people keep up their courage and positive spirits when one storm seems to lead to the next and the next and the next?

Sometimes I wonder why everybody in the United States doesn’t pack up and move to our part of the country! (I realize that others probably feel the same way about where they live, though perhaps not when they’re in the midst of a blizzard or a hurricane.)

I hope I never become complacent about all the comforts I enjoy in my privileged life, from climate to the roof over my head and the food on my table. I hope I never forget that it is part of the human contract to help those less fortunate. It isn’t right that I have so many comforts while other people have no comfort at all.

Simply put, kindness and generosity lead to more kindness and generosity, and paying it forward is not a frivolous concept.  Taking care of each other and of our environment is imperative—as is teaching our young people to do the same.

My past three weeks have included traveling, mourning the death of one friend and strengthening relationships with others, adjusting to a time change and the beginning of a new season.

I am reminded daily of how constantly life changes, bringing new opportunities, with surprises at every turn. I hope I remain open to those opportunities and welcome the surprises, despite inevitable obstacles and disappointments. And I hope I never forget my obligation to help other people who are less fortunate than I am.

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