Posted in Holidays and Seasonal Changes

The Year

I love this short but oh-so-truthful jewel of a poem, The Year, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, written back in 1910. For we experience, year after new year, all that she writes about, all the realities of life.

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What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

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The weight of our 2021 year—the good (we did have some, right?) and the bad (no need for the same question) and the we’re-not-sure-which-it-was—now nears its tipping-over point into 2022’s own “rhymes” of a “thousand times.”

May we all “rise up laughing with the light” tomorrow and tomorrow.

Posted in The View from Behind

The View from Behind: Introduction

For some reason, I have always appreciated, even revered, “the view from behind.”

As a child, on the first day of each new school year, I was a nervous wreck waiting for the teacher to announce our seating arrangement. Front of the class? 😢 Too much exposure! Too revealing! Too out there! Far too much responsibility to “be.”

A nice, comfy seat toward the back? 😁 Perfect. I get to observe, to “see.” To calmly breathe.

Note to self: ASAP, schedule at least three long therapy sessions to discuss the three short paragraphs above.

But for now, allow me to introduce my newest NealEnJoy blog category: “The View from Behind,” where I invite you to join me somewhere in the back.

Little gator and me, Okefenokee Swamp Park, Waycross, Georgia

Always hold an “alligator” (or any challenging life … critter) in front of you, and if you can, kindly but temporarily tape its mouth closed.

Posted in Monday Musings

Miles to Go

Hydrangea paniculata

After Forsyth Park Farmers Market-ing Saturday morning, Robert and I were walking home, minding our own business, when out of the blue, the Universe spoke to me again. (A fairly common occurrence these days.)

“It’s the end of October,” I thought. “Isn’t it a little late for hydrangeas to still be blooming?” But glancing up and down the row of bushes, I noticed that all the other hydrangeas were NOT blooming, except for this LONE, stubborn survivor.

I was mesmerized, the bloom just SO very June fresh.

“It’s rude to stare,” she interrupted my thoughts, a bit offended.

“Sorry, I didn’t meant to stare. But I’m floored to see you here when all of your … your brothers and sisters are … are less than alive.” (My awkward attempt to avoid further rudeness.)

“May I ask why you ARE still here?” I timidly wondered.

Her demeanor shifted, and she smiled the tiniest of smiles.

“I suppose you can, but I’ll let Frost answer for me.”

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

I walked home with lively, renewed fervor in my step.

Posted in Growing Older, Humor

How to Photograph a Septuagenarian

Now that youth is a far distant memory, and I’m just a couple of months away from turning … from turning … from turning … 70, I’d like to instruct anybody who ever points a camera (well, phone—does anybody use a camera any more ?) in my direction. Here are 10 foolproof suggestions.

1. Take my picture in the snow.

2. Have me get on a giant bed.

3. Let me hold my unicorn.

4. Have me stand on a bridge over troubled waters.

5. Incorporate mirrors.

6. Have me sit in a house with one window.

7. Make the best of focus.

8. Have me sit far away from the paparazzi.

9. Let me hold my big bird.

And 10. Push me in the pool.

There you go. No close-ups. Simple and easy.

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Okay, I’m joking. I love my age and where I am in life.