On this blog page, author Mary C. Woolling posts an ongoing series of her essays showcasing the positives of life.

New essays are added often. You are cordially invited to become a regular reader. Also, please feel free to share this site with your family and friends via the “Tell a Friend” link, located in the right-hand column below.

Comments on Mary's essays are most welcome. Simply click on the “Post Comments” link appearing at the end of each essay, and share your thoughts.

If you'd like to contact Mary, you may do so at mary@herestolife.us

Monday, June 21, 2021

A Day in June

“And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days,
Then Heaven meets Earth
If if be in tune,
And over it softly
Her warm ear lays;
…Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten…”

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)–American poet

There’s something especially wonderful about the month of June. As James Russell Lowell pointed out, it is made up of perfect days, when the outside world looks fresh, bright and inviting.

We eagerly anticipate June all year, for it heralds the beginning of summer, when time suddenly seems to stretch out limitlessly before us, lending a slower, gentler pace to our lives, with its long, warm, sunny days and cool, starry-skied nights. Our thoughts often turn to happy childhood memories of special outdoor events and happenings.

Everywhere you look there is something beautiful and enjoyable: breathtaking vistas of brilliant blue skies, graceful trees heavily laden with deep green leaves at the peak of their loveliness, a veritable cornucopia of fragrant flowers in every type and hue, gentle breezes, daytime symphonies of cheerful bird songs, and delightful evening cricket concerts and firefly lightshows.

The occasional thunderstorm or soft rain shower is welcome, for each is short-lived and only serves to deepen and enrich the already-lush flora surrounding us.

Roadside farmer’s markets suddenly re-appear on the scene, brimming with freshly-picked fruits of the land—feasts for the eye as well as the taste—vibrant red tomatoes, shiny green string beans, assorted mouth-watering melons, sweet ruby cherries, and juicy crimson strawberries.

No more annoying morning wake-up calls for us. We’re on vacation, happily satisfying our sudden attacks of wanderlust by trekking off to destinations of far-away, exotic places or familiar haunts of many a past year.

We’re headed for fun leisure activities with family and friends—backyard projects, cookouts, baseball games, biking, fishing, and the beach or swimming pool.

Or a refreshing catnap on the old porch swing with its familiar, comforting squeak, or in the hammock, hanging invitingly under the softly swaying branches of backyard trees. Ahhhhhh! Yes, things are definitely shaping up.

Plenty of hours to read, relax, and renew our bodies, minds, and spirits.

It’s June. Life is good! What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Winging Into Spring

“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds has come…”
Song of Solomon 2: 11-12

In her 1962 bestseller, Silent Spring, gifted writer, biologist, and early environmentalist Rachel Carson foretold of a world without birds and other wonders of nature as a result of the widespread use of pesticides, specifically DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane). She claimed that these chemicals would cause the deaths of untold numbers of animals, especially birds, and even humans.

Her writing engendered much discussion and study of the use of biocides and their potentially lethal effects. As a result, in May, 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee determined that pesticides should be used to maintain the quality of our food and health, but not indiscriminately, in which case it might jeopardize the balance of nature. Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner, the committee chairman, stated that their routine usage posed “potentially a much greater hazard” than the deleterious effects of uncontrolled radiation.

We owe a great debt to Miss Carson for alerting the country to the danger of this potential catastrophe before it occurred. Her efforts ultimately led, in 1972, to the ban of the usage of DDT in the U.S.

The idea of a spring without the familiar sound of birdcalls is inconceivable. Along with the blossoming of crocuses, tulips, and hyacinths, the sight and sound of birds is part and parcel of the season. They portend the end of a long winter and promise of beautiful weather days ahead. Spring just wouldn’t be spring without the birds.

We derive such pleasure from our feathered friends. No matter where we are outdoors, they appear in wide variety, brightly-colored, active, and entertaining to watch. They sing their hearts out for us, providing delightful music to enjoy. Bird watching is said to be the most rapidly growing hobby in America today, with almost 70 million individuals avid backyard birders.

Some species of birds are prevalent in all areas of the country, while others are specific to certain regions. Each in its own way enriches our lives. We can easily invite these feathered songsters into our world through the simple provision of birdhouses, birdbaths, and bird feeders with seed blends, suet, table scraps, or bread crumbs. Feeders and houses come in many types, including those placed on poles, hanging from tree branches, and attaching to the outside of windows. All allow for close-up observation of the lovely winged creatures.

Once we begin to pay attention, it’s not long before we come to recognize certain birds by their distinctive markings, habits, and individual songs. The soft gray Mourning Dove is known for its haunting four or five note cooing sound. The Robin Redbreast is perhaps the best recognized of all North American birds, with its characteristic gait of hop, skip and head-tilt and “cheerily carol.” Then there is the Song Sparrow, aptly named for its unique trilling call, and the unmistakable Woodpecker, with its red head, solid black back, white underfeathers and familiar rat-tat-tapping of its beak on tree trunks. And let’s not forget the brilliant scarlet-colored Cardinal, better known as the Redbird, with its joyful “purty! purty! purty!”

The world is full of intriguing delights–some, like the birds, quite literally right outside the window. It’s Spring! The time of the singing of birds has come once again.

Take a look and a listen. Purty! purty! purty!

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Vision of Heaven

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. — John 14:3 NIV

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus showed all who believe in Him that when we leave this earth, we will not die. We will go right on living – in complete fullness – with Him for eternity. What a comfort to know that death is not a closed-door ending of existence but rather a wide-open entry into glorious new life. Equally comforting is the assurance that all those we love will join us in that perfect place.

Our finite, mortal minds could never comprehend what immortal life will really be like, but, still, it’s fun to imagine the possibilities. Whenever I think of Heaven, I envision a memorable Sunday afternoon church picnic of many years ago, which a good friend of mine and I had organized. The event was held at a nearby park.

I can still see it all so clearly in my mind’s eye. A beautiful day with azure-blue skies, cotton-ball clouds, golden-glow sunshine, and soothing-soft breezes. Everyone had arrived and was having a marvelous time. A whistling calliope concert, its tooting tunes in showboat fashion, could be heard all across the park. The irresistible aroma of freshly-popped popcorn, courtesy of a vintage Popper Machine, was wafting over the air. The children were busy enjoying a Bounce House, face painting, and pony rides. In an adjacent field, teenagers were merrily competing in three-legged and relay races, frisbee toss, and tug-of-war.

A local catering service had provided us with mouth-watering fried chicken and all the tasty trimmings, including baked beans, corn on the cob, cabbage slaw, and hot country biscuits. People were queuing up to the tables to partake of that fabulous fare, while a little band of talented, octogenarian musicians and soloists regaled us with joyful, toe-tapping instrumental strains and songs. Some of the church members were dancing to the Big Band sounds.

Everyone was so happy, delighted to be with each other, and grateful for the blessings of that perfect day. A sea of smiles in a land of light and laughter.

It was at that moment that our newly-installed pastor arrived and, looking out at that heartwarming scene, he remarked, “You know, Mary, I bet this is what Heaven’s going to be like.” I couldn’t have agreed more.

My haunting, vivid memory of that day so long ago — a preview of coming attractions?

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

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