>Daffodils in the Burn Pile

>Those who know me best know two things: I love to laugh and can be very funny AND I am very melancholic. Perhaps I am my own best medicine or my own worst enemy. What is clear is that my posts have been a bit weepy, but then the world has been that way, hasn’t it? I don’t want to distance my readers by ruminating on the tragedy of what is going on across the Pacific in Japan. Despite the horrors of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of homeless, and the mounting fear of nuclear contamination, stories keep pouring in about compassion, sharing, kind-spiritedness, and love toward one another in Sendai, Japan. On my facebook page, I have highlighted a number of these stories and blogs. One tells of a woman, who upon arriving home, straightened up a few things, then set about cooking pounds of rice, as she knew people would be hungry soon and she had a giant rice cooker. Notice how she thought little about her own inconveniences. Another story out of Sendai involved an American who walked about her neighborhood, going door-to-door, asking if her neighbors were okay, only to come home and find water and food at her door…anonymous…no thanks required.

There are so many lessons woven in here.

If you live in Northern California like I do, then you know that we’ve endured more rain than we have in years. I expected two elk, two deer, and two giraffes to make their way down our street by the end of this week if things didn’t let up. Seriously, an ark was in order! More than once, I caught myself saying, “This is enough, really! This is so depressing.” And within seconds, I’d immediately think of the quake victims sitting in shelters with kerosene heaters with only the clothes on their backs, wondering where they would live in the future. Ack. It really hit home when I received a message on facebook from a friend in Japan telling me that she was safe, but living in one of these shelters. “It’s a disaster…like war. I have never felt this way. We have no heater, not hot water,” she wrote.

I don’t know about you, but I have been uncomfortable in my life. Six times to be exact, and all of them were basically self imposed by being a chaperon on one of my kids’ field trips! Temperatures dropped, we weren’t really prepared, but guess what…it was really temporary…as in several hours to two or three days.

So, one day this past week, I went out in the rain. I’ll say that again, as you may not understand what a big undertaking that is for me now that I don’t have toddlers that “need” to play outside in the rain. I went outside, and I looked around. I don’t live in a neighborhood, per se, that has cracks in the sidewalks where daisies grow, but I do have property, and here’s what I saw: way out in our burn pile, something yellow was glowing. Last summer, I had my son dump a bunch of potting soil into the burn pile from pots on our old deck prior to it being ripped out. I squinted at the pile of branches, leaves, and debris, and saw what that bright yellow glowing thing was: daffodils! I rushed into the garage, threw on my boots, grabbed a pair of scissors, and made my way down to the burn pile. Those daffodils had survived the fall, the winter, and into the spring amidst piles of rubble, intense heat, even fire, then later snow, wind, and rain. There they stood, smiling at me. I couldn’t help it…I cried!

You see, that’s what our friends across the Pacific are doing. They are thriving amidst the harshest conditions. Yes, they need our prayers. Yes, they need our support. Yes, they need help. But they are strong and they are resilient and they will continue to bloom.

When I talk about the quake now with friends, it seems we all have our own “daffodil” story. By that, I mean stories that involve great beauty through giving. Everywhere I turn, I see another organized relief effort for Japan, from American Idol, to Ellen’s show, to our little California Montessori Project school. There’s so much beauty in the human spirit. I’ll never look at the daffodils in my yard quite the same.

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