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A Glimpse of the Great Jed Toups

Intro: It has been over three months and yet it still seems just as surreal. Jed was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He had the kind of silly spirit that could get the Deacon to lose his spot in the prayer book and make an overpacked funeral home await the start of his rosary only to have Siri pipe up to give the service some direction. There aren’t many rosaries that begin with laughter, but it wouldn’t have been a true tribute to him without it. Although I didn’t know Jed for a long time, he left such a solid impression on my life. If he could do that in just the couple of times we were together, I can’t imagine what it must be like for his family and long time friends. Here’s my testimony to you, Jed. Fly high, friend.

~Elise

Jed

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” This is what I have to say: Out of all the pebbles of people I’ve met in my life, Jed Toups was one of those rare gems whose pure soul gave you a glimpse of truth and faith.

On May 5, 2015, after a day of teaching The Great Gatsby to my American Literature students, I received a phone call from my mother telling me that Jed had passed away in an unexpected crop dusting accident. The details were as short as my breath. Scenes flashed through my head as I nearly drove into a ditch. I immediately thought of his young wife who was seven months pregnant and their three young children.

toups family

I knew the news was new because it was hours before Facebook flooded with condolences. A “GoFundMe” account was created by one of his wife’s classmates and within 24 hours nearly $30,000 was raised. As we waited to hear more details, the reflection and processing began. I retrieved the memory of when I first met Jed.

It was around 10 years ago when my sister , who owns a salon, called me to see if I would be interested in going on a blind date with one of her clients. He had just moved to my small hometown of Rayne and was trying to open a unique stained glass company and was in need of someone to go to his other work’s Christmas party. I lived in Lafayette and was in the height of my free-spirited journey, so I said I would be open to meeting him.

I heard the big red Ford diesel truck drive into the apartment complex from my third floor apartment. I was an activist and rode my bike most places to save carbon footprints. I opened the door to find a man with Wranglers, a Cowboy hat, and a smile from ear to ear. He was seriously jovial.

We decided to keep things casual and went to Jason’s Deli where we sat in a booth for hours and talked about our pasts. I learned he was one of six children and was the only boy. He had also lost a sister in a tragic car accident. I couldn’t understand how someone who had experienced such heart ache could still be so at peace. I was attempting to work through a break-up from a three-year relationship and he listened patiently and compassionately. By the end of the evening, he asked if I would feel comfortable enough to go to his Christmas party and I agreed to join him the following week.

We arrived at the Hilton where we were flooded with coworkers who raved about Jed. Every person whose hand I shook couldn’t wait to tell me about how fantastic he was. It’s almost like there was a contest to see who had the better compliment. At this point I have to insert the not so complimentary part about myself. My ex was texting me that night and the fact that I wanted to return a message made me feel utterly guilty. After the party, I was upfront with Jed about the situation. I had received the “friend” talk so many times before, and I dreaded that I was the one giving the speech this time. He was completely sincere that I was honest with him. With a simple hug goodbye we parted ways and I didn’t hear from him for another six months.

It was a random weekday in June and I received a random invitation. Jed had received a call from one of his glass suppliers in North Carolina. It was a small company and they had a shipment come in and wanted to give Jed first dibs. Usually his aunt would make the drive with him, but she could not. When he was thinking of someone who would be up for a random adventure, he had thought of me. He promised that this was an innocent gesture and that we would drive straight there and back. He needed an answer within the hour because we would leave that afternoon.

I consulted with my roommate and she asked if I thought he was a trustworthy guy. Without hesitation I said yes. From a journalistic point of view, I thought it would be cool to learn about stained glass, see a new city, and take a road trip. I called him back and within a few hours he had scooped me up in the big red Ford.

When we made it to outside of Greensboro, he let me take his truck into town while he searched through the frames. I went scout the town for a few hours and then returned to sift through their shop. I went through some of the flea market items and found a pack of Tarot cards that seemed pretty interesting. We packed up his trailer securely and thanked the couple for their hospitality and then continued back to Louisiana. In between eating Subway and reading the pamphlet describing what each card in the deck stood for, “Hey Jude” by the Beatles came on. I expressed how much I loved the song and he claimed that he had never heard of it.

I was singing loudly to pretty much stay awake and after it was over he lowered the radio and said, “I hope you don’t take offense to this,” I waited to see if I would smack him, “but I think it’s going to be a while before you find anyone around here.”

“What? Why?” I retorted sharply.

“Well, I don’t understand half of the words that come out of your mouth and you just think so differently. It’s not a bad thing at all. I just don’t know if you’ll find someone in Louisiana.”

I let his words sink in. He wasn’t wrong at all. And he wasn’t trying to be mean. I remembered how he was genuine when I spoke honestly to him half a year before, and respected his honesty now.

We drove a few more hours and the lack of sleep was starting to wear him out. He didn’t want to risk me driving with thousands of dollars worth of antique glass attached to the Ford and asked if we could stop to sleep in a hotel. Being in your 20s and having a man ask you to stay in a hotel room usually insinuates one thing. He noticed my hesitation and promised that this was strictly for us to sleep – separately. He firmly asked the desk clerk for two beds and kept his promise. Before he went to sleep, he got on his knees to pray. I was awestruck. I had never seen someone do this since childhood. I was impressed and intimidated. At this point in my life I had considered myself spiritual, but did not practice the Catholic faith I had been raised to know. This action solidified to me why he was so peaceful and exuded this sense of joy. 

We awoke the next morning and finished the last leg into Louisiana. The talks were short, but encouraging. He dropped me off at my house and we bid farewell with a hug and gratitude for the adventure. It was the last time we really spoke.

He was correct about the time frame for me to find someone. It was five years before I met my husband, who was from Oregon—and we met through a blind date situation. As I reflect upon this now, I realize I may not have been so open to the introduction had my first set-up been horrible.

Jed was fortunate in his quest for love because it wasn’t long after the road trip when he met his wife. And if I thought he was happy when I met him, I was mistaken. For when I saw him with her, he could have lit up New York City brighter than the fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. They both radiated a loving light that no one could deny. They exemplified why you should wait for true love.

Karris_honey_do_shower

As I watched glimpses of their life via Facebook, I was always inspired by their dedication to each other and to their family. Their sacrifices were more than most could make and their attitudes were better than most could achieve.

Maybe we all just get glimpses of truth and pure love through one another. Sometimes it’s more rare than we’d like. I just wanted to capture in words that I saw it and recognized it in Jed. His death is tragic, but his life was not. How many of us will be able to say that when it was our time to transition to our original state that we were doing what fueled our passions? Jed longed to fly and be with his family. On that morning, he was flying over his home ground knowing that his family was near.

What’s hardest for me to consider is that I never told Jed how much I respected him. I didn’t really understand just how much he impacted my life until I had to pause and reflect the path I took after our encounter. It’s like Fitzgerald wrote about Gatsby’s death, “Let us to learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead…”.

He’s not gone completely. We will see glimpses of him through those four beautiful children. We will give them glimpses of him through our stories, so they can get to know their wonderful father. And when a crop duster nearly blinds you with their wings, look and listen for Jed. He’ll be there within the wind, giving us glimpses of heaven.

Feel free to share your glimpses of him, so together we can create more than just a glimpse.

************************

Update (8/16/15) : The “GoFundMe” account has raised $53,296. His wife successfully delivered a healthy baby girl. Prayers are definitely still welcomed and appreciated.

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Cajun, concepts, Epiphanies, experience, Faith, family, Liver, philosophy, relationships

“You’re pregnant, again?!”

“You two need to get cable.”

“You know what causes that, right?”

“What are you going to do?!”

And then sometimes you really do get the sincerely genuine, “Congratulations! Children are such a blessing!”

But most of the time it’s a comment accompanied with a look of pity. It probably has to do with the look of exhaustion I wear daily—it doesn’t really blend well with the Mac concealer.

Yes. I am pregnant with baby number four. Now that I’m etching past the 12 week mark and the first trimester of exhaustion and nausea, the reality of what I am about to embark upon is overwhelming. It wasn’t “supposed” to happen for another year. I needed to finish grad school. My oldest is just entering pre-k and is not even four years old yet. I thought I’d have more time to prepare…as best as one prepares for four small children.

It seems like the female reproductive system is such a commonly discussed topic among media outlets and politicians. I’ve read so many blogs that talk about what we should and should not talk about with one another. But as more people discover our news, I feel like I have to have some type of stance as to why I am choosing to be so open to life. I may not seem very convincing in person because I am just so tired. 

This week I had my new students read my short story, “The Liver Philosophy”. The moral of the story is to do what is right for you, even if no one else gets it. I had my students write a summary of what they felt it meant and quite a few of them wrote about some of their own choices that they are willing to be a “Liver” for. It was both insightful and inspiring. What moved me more is that I had forgotten to live out the very words I had once wrote!

I know that having a large family is not what everyone desires. I know that being open to “God’s will” is very open to interpretation. I also know that I am not one to judge other people’s choices, as long as they can respect mine.

I don’t know what I am going to do. My motto is that I tend to take life 50 minutes at a time. It’s the teacher in me. Every time the bell rings, a new class begins and anything and everything can change. It carries over into my home life. A meltdown one moment can lead to giggles the next.

Having my children so close together is hard. I’m really finally admitting it out loud. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you have to be open to God to have bigger families. You have to pray a lot for your sanity and you also have to admit that you need other people. It’s a hard thing to do when you have a lot of pride and you were once so independent, but then you look around and you see that you have a real family and real friends who live and celebrate this one life with you.

I sometimes question if I’m making the right choice, but then today happens. After a chaotic day, my three boys will be so sweet. And we do something random like “chase the sun”, which involves driving down an open highway to watch the gorgeous sunset while listening to The Postal Service. And they talk to one another like brothers do and say in an almost synchronized, rehearsed manner, “Good night, Sun,” to the melody of how we read, “Good Night Moon.” And I think, Yes. I can have another. I will survive thrive.

See you in February Baby Bou:)

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Hummingbird

Thomas stood at the window and watched the hummingbird dart frantically from each side of the feeder. There were five other mature birds sipping the red nectar and the young one seemed to be bobbing for the chance to savor the juice. Thomas’ eyes focused on the blur of the wings. “How did they move so fast?” he wondered. His brothers were talking seriously in the background and their voices began to blur similarly to the movement of the fluttering wings. He had the sudden urge to leave the kitchen and followed his wandering feet to the bird feeder.

An attraction lured him to get a more personal look at the small hummingbird. The scent of a fading rose bush brushed against his nostrils through the mid-September breeze. A neighbor was cutting the grass and he welcomed the droning hum of the mower over his brothers’ conversation. He sighed a releasing breath and realized that the winged creatures hadn’t noticed he was merely a foot away.

He was suddenly struck with a strong desire to witness the impossible. He never had an encounter longer than a fleeting moment with the species, but somehow thought he could earn the hummingbird’s trust. He let out another long sigh and instinctually extended his right index finger toward the feeder. He didn’t have a plan. He was just completely aware of the present moment. It’s as if the only thing that had ever existed was this moment with six fluttering birds. He didn’t care how long it would take to make the connection; he only took comfort in his stillness.

He closed his eyes and exhaled. He assumed the wispy movement on his finger was his own breath. When he opened his eyes, the young hummingbird was perched on his finger. The stillness of the wings alluded to the moment.

After a second, Thomas decided to take a step. The bird remained in his care. Within a few more steps, he was in his truck, driving to meet her. The bird zipped around the truck like the thoughts in Thomas’ head. He tried to focus on the small miracle that occurred and hoped it was a sign of what was to come.

Twenty minutes later he pulled into the parking garage. He opened the door as the young bird flew out and circled above him before returning to his finger. Thomas thought about how much she would adore the innocent gesture as he passed by the “Lourdes Hospital” sign. He ignored the gasping nurses as he walked down the hall and instead directed his memory to afternoon coffee breaks at the kitchen table next to the bay window overlooking the bird feeder. It was one of her favorite things to do.

He opened the door to Room 308 and saw her laying in the same position she had been in for the past week.

“Mom,” he said softly, hoping that this time there would be a sign that she heard him. He longed to see her dazzling blue eyes open. The doctors had given her no more than two weeks to live once they discovered her cancer had spread. Within two days of the diagnosis, she slipped into a coma. His bubbly, caring mother had just fallen asleep and showed no signs of waking from her slumber.

“Mom, I brought something to show you.” His voice was hopeful, and he continued as if she were listening. “I saw this little guy hanging out at the house and thought you would want to see him. Look, Mom.”

There was only stillness.

A tear fell down Thomas’ cheek as the little bird turned its head toward the human’s emotion. The sound of the monitors kept a steady rhythm as Thomas cried silently. The hummingbird stayed perched on his finger and seemed to look between the mother and her son. A memory surged of the two playing spades one afternoon and he remembered a song she had sung.

Thomas found himself singing it aloud,

“Why do birds suddenly appear? Every time you are near.

Just like me, they long to be close to you.”

At that line, he nearly broke. Thomas sucked in a silent sob as a smile crossed his face.

“I don’t think those nurses have ever seen someone walk into the hospital with a hummingbird on their finger,” he started to chuckle. “You should have seen their faces!” Suddenly he was laughing heartily. “I’m sure they’ll be talking about this for a while.” He let out one final laugh, then became a little more somber.

“Mom, thanks for always allowing me to be myself,” Thomas said as he squeezed her hand. With that, he looked at the little bird and said, “I better let you go.”

He walked through the halls toward the exit and again heard gusts of shock. He opened the heavy door and was standing on a breezeway that connected the hospital with the parking garage.

“Well, little buddy, this is where we part,” he said looking at the hummingbird. “I’m glad we were able to share this moment. You’ve got some purpose in this world and I’ll never forget it. Go now and be free.”

Thomas extended his hand in a careful gesture and the hummingbird flew away without hesitation.

A gentle breeze seemed to caress Thomas’ arm, which comforted him. He tried to grasp what it felt like to be free. Although his mind was grappling with a concept he may never understand, he unconsciously sang the words,

“Just like me they long to be close to you.”

 

 

By Elise Peltier Boutin

10/10/14

Dedicated to Maw on what would have been your 76th birthday.

We miss you terribly, but pass on your love to all those around us.

 

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Breeched

I’m now a little over 200 pounds. I’ve officially gained 29 pounds during my pregnancy and I still have three weeks to go. Last Wednesday marked my 37th week. Although I feel like I have been pregnant forever, I still can’t believe that the time is almost here.

It has been a very interesting journey to say the very least. I feel very blessed because I haven’t had very many issues. My placenta was low during most of my second trimester. I had a few restrictions, but I got through it. I listened to songs like “Rise” by Eddie Vedder and “Rise Up” by March Fourth Marching Band. At a 31 week ultrasound we found out that my placenta had risen to a very safe place, however Charles was in a breeched position.

I still had nine weeks to go, so he had plenty of time to flip. I tried not to worry about it. I called a friend of mine who is a Bradley Method instructor. She delivered a nine pound baby at her home and had a natural delivery using this method. She told me to get on all fours and rock-every night. She said it would stimulate the baby to get into a birthing position. Even though I felt silly, I tried to do it as often as I could.

Two weeks ago when my doctor checked his position, he was still breeched. We discussed a few options, such as an ECV – external cephalic version, and talked about a possible C-section. I researched the ECV and had very mixed feelings about it. The success rate is only 50 percent and there are a few major risks: the cord could get wrapped around his neck or my placenta could rupture. I would have to be hooked up to an I.V. and sign an emergency C-Section waiver. After the procedure, regardless if it was successful or not, I would have to stay in the hospital to be monitored for a few hours.

Uuuuummmmmm. Maybe not?

I have imagined myself having a natural birth this entire pregnancy. You would think that I would have completely over researched and prepared myself adequately but I really haven’t. I like experiencing the complete awareness of listening to my body and having no expectations. I may come to regret this decision when I’m huffing and puffing during labor, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. But now with my baby boy’s positioning I was trying to choose what would be best for him. If he is all comfortable and large in this position, why should I try to force him to change? Plus, it would be very convenient to know what day I would have him and when I needed to leave work.

So junior and I had a chat. One day I sat rubbing my belly in a clock-wise motion and explained the situation to him. I discussed all of our options and told him that I would leave it up to him because after all, this whole event will take the both of us working together. I decided against the ECV. I was going to set a C-Section date and if he hadn’t flipped by then I would take it as a sign that a section was the way for us to go. I felt comfortable with this decision and it seemed like he did too.

Last week I had an ultrasound to check his presentation. When the technician put the wand against my lower tummy the first thing we saw was a big head. Somehow he decided quite quickly to flip over and now he is head down and looks like he is ready to go.

Now it’s going to be the waiting game. For a sliver of a second I thought I knew when he would get here. But Charles has decided to remind me of what pregnancy teaches you: You will never have your own schedule again and you need to learn how to be patient and on your toes at the same time.

It’s double Dutch time. I will be hopping back and forth from left foot to right foot as I wait for a contraction and that cliche moment when I can yell, “My water just broke!”.  Even if in the end I have to have the c-section, I won’t be totally disappointed. If the breeched situation taught me anything it’s that regardless if we are in the “wrong” position and stubborn as hell, the world has a way of moving us to where we need to go. Alright Charley, let’s get moving!

Cajun, communications, concepts, food, Uncategorized

Class-action Cajun

I didn’t claim to be Cajun until I went to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I didn’t realize the fascinating tale of my heritage. I also didn’t gather there was a distinction between Cajun or Creole or that there was actually a vast difference between all parts of my state: New Orleans is completely different from Baton Rouge; Lafayette/Acadiana is distinguished from the current and former state capitals; there are actually Prairie Cajuns and Bayou Cajuns; and north Louisiana is almost a different state completely.

Once I had this cultural epiphany, I realized  the equation that perpetuates the problem: media + advertising + corrupt politics = misinformed perception.

Louisiana has always had a colorful history with a flare for fun. After all, we are the toe-tapping boot and the mouth of the Mississippi. We literally are the shit – the excess of the entire right half of the country flows from tributaries through us to the Gulf of Mexico.

With the surge of technology over the past 10 years, the Cajun image has been contorted to a nearly unrecognizable spin-off of a New Orleans step-brother. People from across the nation assume we are one in the same, but that could not be farther from the truth. But how would they know? They see commercials for multiple chain restaurants that say, “Try our Cajun style ________, straight from New Orleans.” Or they watch new popular shows like “Swamp People” and think that we all say, “Choot ’em.”

Should we embrace the fact that people know who we are even though they don’t understand that we do not cook like New Orleans or possess the same colloquial vernacular?

In the past two weeks I have joked that we should create a class action lawsuit as Cajuns against restaurants who misuse our name for their recipes. Shouldn’t it be Cajun approved before it goes national? Anyone who has eaten food in both New Orleans and Lafayette knows that the food is vastly different. Not even all Louisianians understand this concept, so how can anyone who has never visited our homestead?

I’m sure that many denizens from other states have similar issues with how their lives are portrayed on television. For example, the first time I flew to New York City to visit a friend, I was terribly nervous to hale a taxi cab and travel solo at night. My friend commented that life in NYC is not like NYPD Blue and he assured me that I would be fine – and he was right.

This morning I saw a status on Facebook that announced a casting call for a new show, “Party Down South.” The concept is similar to that of Jersey Shore. My qualm with the announcement was this line: “The search is on for the next big television personalities who are ragin’ Cajuns and appreciate all that the Southern Gulf cities have to offer.” This may not seem like a big deal, but a sentence later it listed that casting calls will be in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama (NOT JUST REAL CAJUNS).

I feel like yelling, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”. All Americans should be outraged. We are allowing pop-culture society to ruin our roots. It doesn’t matter if you are Cajun or not. We should not sit by and let D-listed entertainment further cripple the minds of today’s ignorance and tomorrow’s youth. How long will we let rich culture deteriorate – everywhere?

A lawsuit may seem extreme. But sometimes an extreme measure is the only thing that makes it into the sensational mainstream media.

Here’s the full Casting Call invitation. Think for yourself:

Media Alert: Party Down South Casting

Submitted by doron on June 27, 2011 – 3:09pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Doron Ofir Casting June 27, 2011

DORON OFIR CASTING & 495 PRODUCTIONS ARE CURRENTLY CASTING LOUD & PROUD GULF SOUTHERNERS AND CAJUNS

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 27, 2011) – Doron Ofir Casting in conjunction with 495 Productions is proud to announce the summer 2011 casting tour in search of the hottest, proudest Gulf Southerners, Bayou residents and Cajuns to star in PARTY DOWN SOUTH (working title) by the legendary Casting Company and Production Company of MTV’s smash hit series, JERSEY SHORE . . . the search is on for the next big television personalities who are ragin’ Cajuns and appreciate all that the Southern Gulf cities have to offer.

“American is the greatest melting pot of cultures, dialects, lifestyles and hometown pride! I am excited at the prospect of presenting a cast that’s rich with personalities, that capture the world’s attention by showcasing the unique flavor of this slice of the South” – Doron Ofir Executive Casting Director.

In an effort to find the most outrageous and best characters in the South, casting events and interviews will be held throughout the month of July in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Doron Ofir Casting is seeking Gulf-Coast Southerners who are at least 21 years old and looking to prove that the party down South will rise again. If you call ‘gators your neighbors, reckon Mardi Gras should be a national holiday, your daisy dukes fit just right and are ready to make your Maw Maw and Paw Paw proud, we are looking for you!

The official casting and digital application to be considered and invited to audition can be found atwww.partydownsouth.com

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Are forwarded messages good information?

I was about to delete an email from someone yesterday and then I decided to give it a read. It was called, “One Month.” I don’t receive too much from this particular person, so I figured it wasn’t complete spam. It wasn’t. Instead it was a message about how Americans should buy American goods. Part of me really enjoyed the information. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but the concept is intriguing.

Let me know what YOU think:

Well over 50 yrs ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if they were made in China. Her daughter will recognize her in the following.

Did y’all see that Diane Sawyer has a special report coming up this week. They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family’s home that were
not made in the USA .

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they are going to show truckloads of items – USA made – being brought in to replace everything and will be talking about how to find these items and the difference in price etc..

It was interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like
200,000 new jobs!

I WAS BUYING FOOD THE OTHER DAY AT WALMART and ON THE LABEL OF SOME PRODUCTS IT SAID ‘FROM CHINA ‘

FOR EXAMPLE THE “OUR FAMILY” BRAND OF THE MANDARIN ORANGES SAYS RIGHT ON THE
CAN ‘FROM CHINA ‘

I WAS SHOCKED SO FOR A FEW MORE CENTS I BOUGHT THE LIBERTY GOLD BRAND OR THE
DOLE SINCE IT’S FROM CALIF.

Are we Americans as dumb as we appear — or — is it that we just do not think while the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American
markets?

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.

Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese

products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning on implementing this on JULY 1st and continue it until AUGUST 1st. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, July 1 to August 1st !!!!!! START NOW.

Send this to everybody you know. Let’s show them that we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted.

If we can’t live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!

Pass it on, America .

Well instead of doing it for just 1 month why not try to do it all the time.
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The lizard and the caterpillars

I do find inspiration in the oddest moments. Jon is still getting used to my creative methods, which helps me to grow in ways I did not imagine. A few years ago when I took the “Culture of Man” and “Environment and Spirit” courses at UL, I read a lot of articles and books written by authors who spent time outdoors or in nature. Part of my curriculum was to find a nature spot and visit it almost daily throughout a semester. This allowed me to really see what kind of creature life took place right beneath our noses. Usually I’m speeding by the Psychology department, rarely would I notice a new bloom or a bird basking in the sun.

Ever since I moved into my current dwelling, I felt the need to grow things. Growing my baby was the biggest surprise-I started with herbs. Every morning I let Jackson out to potty and I water my plants. I try to take notice of how they grow each day. Are they leaning a different direction? Do they feel more dry or moist than the day before? Are there new inhabitants in the pots?

It really makes me take notice of how each day truly is different. A few months ago I met a few lizards that live on our back porch. There were three, but now there only tends to be one lurking around my cala lillies. He and Jackson seem to have a playful relationship.

After the rain these past few days, I noticed a large group of caterpillars in my dill. Nearly all of my dill was eaten by these FAT caterpillars. The only thought that makes me less anxious is that, at least I’m helping to make butterflies – they’re my favorite. I guess the moral of this entry is to pay attention to your environment. Even infestations can lead to something beautiful:)