O trees

Blogging from A to Z, my theme is happy things. O for open, outdoors, over!

Over. How can over be a happy thing? My photograph is from last week, the trees here are so tall and tower over us!

I love to walk outdoors. Outdoors is another happy thing for me. I had a thousand posts on this blog before I really knew what it is about. It is celebrating the place where I heal, where I stay balanced from work: outdoors. I get to share the photographs I take:

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Open. When I walk outdoors, my heart opens. I feel joy! It is still dark here this morning, but as soon as it begins to get light, the birds start their madness! I sing back to them. This year I am learning the song of the towhee. The smaller birds are so good at hiding in bushes when I want to take pictures. I want to sing like this towhee:

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And those are today’s happy things about the letter O.

O

 

 

O is for open

O for open.

What does feeling open mean to you?

Dictionary.com lists 42 adjective meanings, including:
34. not constipated, as the bowels.

That one made me giggle, but I am thinking of open as in open to other people and open to discussion and open to change. Walking outside and seeing birds and deer and the spring here exploding in flowers and small new leaves opens me. I get tired in clinic and by the end I am grumpy and think: no more people. Ick, people. But I love clinic and miss it when I have been off and sick. I missed hugs from my patients!

With 42 different adjective meanings, think about how amazing it is that we think we know what someone means when they use the word open…..

 

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With all of the discussion generated by the US presidential election, I am also thinking about an open society. A friend said that we have to be open to discussion but we also have to listen to each other. And listen to feelings.

I think of Sweet Honey in the Rock singing “Would you harbor me?

Would you harbor me?
Would I harbor you?
Would you harbor a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew
a heretic, convict or spy?
Would you harbor a run away woman, or child,
a poet, a prophet, a king?

The lyrics are here.

I took the photograph yesterday. I was trying to focus on my neighbor in the background, but I am open to seeing the grasses instead….

 

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Open

O for open: open water and open heart, for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

I kept thinking O for ocean, but the photos that I want to use are not of the ocean but of a lake. My daughter and I were there in 2012. She was a synchronized swimmer for seven years and then joined swim team in eighth grade. We went to the lake and she practiced distance swimming. She is used to a 1950s 20 yard pool. She started at the lake by swimming to a little island we call Kidnap Island. I canoed while she swam, and my cousin’s daughter came along on the first trip. They left the lake soon after that. My daughter swam farther and farther every day, with me in a canoe to ensure that no power boat would run her over.

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We were on our way to the parking lot one day, when a power boat slowed. “Long way out, aren’t you? All alone?” said one of the men. I was in a small one person canoe that only weighs 18 pounds and is really tippy. I wouldn’t take it out in any sort of nasty weather.

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“No, I am with my daughter.” I pointed to the water.

“She’s swimming? Where did you start?” he said.

I pointed back to our cabin. Far enough that he couldn’t see it.

“Really? She swam that far?” He and his friend watched my daughter power along.

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“Yes. Swim team.”

“Is she swimming to the parking lot?” The cars were still really distant.

“Yes and probably back, too.”

“Wow. I thought it was a long way for a canoe!”  They drove on, shaking their heads.

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Open water and open heart. It takes practice to swim that far. I swim about two days a week, about a mile in the pool. My daughter shakes her head: the swim team swims three to five miles at each practice, and she swims six days a week in the season. She considers me a wuss. I consider her a calorie burning machine.

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It takes practice to keep an open heart. That is what I need in my rural family medicine clinic. An open heart allows space and expansion and time for people to open up. To say things that are bothering them or frightening them or grieving them. I am back at work now for two weeks, but by the end of the day yesterday, I was tired, tired, tired, as if I had swum across that lake. I need to rest sometimes…..