The world is coming back. I’m having trouble believing that we are now in the middle of 2021. Time has flown past at an unbelievable speed. It feels to me as if the last “real” year was 2019.

It’s good to be back in the world. It’s good to see live people laughing outside. Having a barbecue. Serving potato salad by a slowly rolling river. It’s refreshing that it’s raining again.

The world is incredibly green. Our front garden has things growing in it I’ve never seen before, not even as weeds. I have no idea what they are, whether they will flower or just turn to seeds.

Even better, there’s no sign that we are going to be invaded by cicadas. We’ve already been invaded twice by gypsy moth caterpillars, so NOT getting trillions of giant flying insects whose only goal in life is to fornicate (insect-style), then dig back into the earth for another 17 years. I’m just happy they are somewhere else!


What did you learn the hard way?

Pretty much everything. But to be fair, I don’t think there’s an easy way to learn about life and how to live it. Even with the best advice from the wisest people in your life, you will still need to learn how to live well with others, how to produce your best work in an office or at home. None of this stuff is learned by classroom work or through advice, though advice and studies can help.

You learn real stuff by doing it. Then doing it again until you get really good at it. Some things, like all forms of art, music, writing — you are never done learning it the hard way. Each time you write a book or an essay or paint another picture, it’s a learning process. You take all your previous experience and apply it to the new project.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I don’t think the hard way IS the hard way. It’s just how we learn. We make mistakes. We fail, we try again. We get better, then we try again. Our efforts are not always appreciated but that’s not the point.

We know when we’ve done it right. When we’ve produced something exceptional. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never do anything better because we probably will, but when we exceed our previous best efforts, we know we’ve done well.

I’ve never found it easy, but I’ve often found it deeply satisfying and never felt the time involved was wasted.

Which activities make you lose track of time?

Reading. Writing. Taking pictures. Playing bridge.

Why do we seem to think of others the most after they’re gone?

I don’t. I think about them the most while they are in the process of dying, something which has happened often in recent years. Age is catching up with us and everyone has something that is or might be potentially lethal.

After someone I care about passes, I miss them. Especially when something happens in which they would have usually been involved. I miss my mother — even after all these years — when something happens and I know she would have found it interesting. I miss friends who are gone because I know they will never call me again or even drop a comment onto a blog.

But. I don’t obsess about people who are gone. I think that we need to live forward. The occasional reminiscence is lovely, but it’s not a lifestyle. Yesterday is done. Tomorrow could become anything. Loss is inevitable. We will all eventually be gone and the older we are, the sooner that “eventually” is likely to be.

Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

I’m not sure what that means. I think that science, statistics, studies are truth. I don’t think you need to challenge your doctor when he prescribes medication unless you know something about it that he doesn’t know — or something about your ability to tolerate that medication he doesn’t know.

But challenge reality? Challenge science? Why? Just to be contrary? Because you think that you know more than everyone else about absolutely everything? It never — for example — crossed my mind to “challenge” vaccinations for COVID-19. Why not? Because vaccinations have saved humanity from a wide variety of diseases that used to kill us before we were old enough to challenge anything.

It’s a proven fact that vaccinations work. I take a lot of medications. I look them up to get additional information, but it’s not a challenge. It’s just research and background information.

If you have to challenge everything, you are going to spend most of your life looking for answers that already exist and have long since been proven. That seems to me to be a massive waste of time and energy that could be put to much better use.


Yesterday, Garry and I were out in the park along the canal. Usually, the place is empty or nearly empty. Sometimes you bump into a few few photographers or people walking their dogs. Or hikers.

Yesterday, half of Uxbridge had found their way to the park. I’ve never seen it so busy. We got to chatting with various strangers, often about what we had done during the lockdown and vaccination. And how lucky we are to live in a state where most people have had the smarts to get vaccinated as soon as they were able.

Photo: Garry Armstrong
Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was a happy crowd of people. They were picnicking, fishing, kayaking. Walking dogs. There was a lot of laughter.

Our parks are never crowded, but this time, there were a lot of people. The adjacent parking lot was almost full — on a Sunday! I think that after more than a year of spending every day locked in the house, depending on computers and other devices and seeing little of other people in the flesh, everyone wants to go out and play. Everyone is glad to be alive, outside, breathing real air.

If nothing else was accomplished during the long COVID siege, if people put down their electronic gizmos and discover the real world, we’ve made some real strides towards remembering how to be human.

Categories: Blackstone River, Blackstone Valley, canal, Nature, Photography, Share My World

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. The pictures are so beautiful! Especially the one with a stone bridge-it is as though I were standing there witnessing it all. And what a beautiful article. True I am glad to be alive and I know these years will perhaps be the darkest years but like you wrote “yesterday is done” and “tomorrow could be anything”. So I rather submerge myself in the little pleasures of the present.


  2. An excellent post with photos. Thank you 😊


  3. Thank you Marilyn for Sharing Your World and some sage words! Your perspective is keen and your photography stunning! I pondered the ‘truth’ question myself, and I believe the intent of it was to get people to think about what they might accept (without question) as truth. The more unsavory ‘truths’ anyway, like *ALL people in a certain group ARE automatically criminals” or stuff like that. That’s how I took it anyway. You make a fair point, and I have no patience whatsoever with some pointy head that refuses the vaccine because of whatever ‘truth’ they’ve accepted without question. I’m so glad you got to go out to your lovely park and see that the world (at least in America) is healing a little bit. I’ve felt that too (without mingling of course), and it has lightened my heart a great deal. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You too. If you are already vaccinated, go somewhere and be outside. I know it’s hotter there than here — I looked at the national weather map last night. My friend Ben says it’s 110 in Phoenix and getting hotter. We were there once in the summer and it went up to 124 — and dry heat or not, it was HOT. With all the whining we do about winter, I can deal with the snow a lot better than that heat. Still, it’s good to rediscover an outside world.

      I accept scientific and otherwise long-proven facts because there are plenty more things to learn about. I don’t see why I should waste my time trying to prove AGAIN things that have long since been proven by better minds than mine. Also, if I spent all that time to determine if this medication or that medication was safe, I’d lose whatever sanity I have left. At some point, you have to trust someone. I trust my doctor. I trust astronomy. I trust the people who measure earthquakes and tell me that the earth is heating up and that there’s a drought in progress that is affecting almost ALL of North America, Australia, parts of South America. I believe that using nitrite fertilizer is destroying our aquifers because I actually worked with the scientists who proved it and edited the manuscript we sent to the EPA about it (they funded the study).

      It was scary stuff — and that was in the early 1980s. It hasn’t gotten better and it’s possible it won’t get better because we’ve crossed a line that we should not have crossed. That is one of my biggest worries — that we’ve waited too long. And yet there are still those morons in Congress who refuse to believe what is right in front of their own eyes. When intelligence was being given out, they were bending over, tying their shoelaces.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it was the best day of the year. Wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves, even the chap who chatted us up for the longest time.


  4. Beautiful photos and feeling of hope, yes we can recover and fight back to normal life but with lessons learnt not be repeated again

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so. I was part of a long study (funded by the EPA in the U.S.) that we did in Jerusalem about aquifers, nitrite fertilizers, water reuse, and managing water in arid zones, so I was actually part of that research. It was scary stuff in 1982 and it hasn’t gotten less scary forty years later. It worries me. There isn’t much I can do about it and worrying doesn’t help, so I hope that there IS hope.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m glad you had a wonderful day’s outing. Nice to see people out and about again.

    Liked by 1 person

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