Daffodils and Windchimes

I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

--William Wordsworth (1804)

By the time I finished my post last night, after thinking too long and hard about how our US dollars feed China's military ambitions, I kind of slumped over the laptop and wondered how much longer I could keep up with this project. As I've admitted before, I'm a wimp. I don't go on scary rides. I don’t see movies without happy endings. I look away if there's a car wreck on the road. And to me, this whole offshore mess is one gigantic car wreck. It doesn't help that I keep picturing abused Foxconn / Apple / Dell / fill-in-your-choice-of-electronics-company workers hurling themselves from high rise dormitory windows. "Wow, that's heavy," Don / Richie C said after reading the last night's post (his 50s-era / Richie C way of thinking makes me smile despite our country's woes). Yeah man, heavy. Nothing more to say. We shuffled off to bed.

But this morning, with apologies to all the horrible things happening in the world, it is the most stunningly beautiful edge-of-spring day. Sky's a deep Tahoe blue. Frost melted off the rooftops even before the sun came up. And Don's daffodils have burst open. Don dug the bare bulbs into the dirt over 10 years ago. Same time every year, after chill and rain, masses of yellow blooms arrive. They practically shout at me as I make my morning coffee. Look at us. Aren't we amazing? Yes, dear flowers, you are. Wordsworth agrees.

Dad wasn't much of a gardener. The red, yellow and pink roses in our San Fernando Valley backyard somehow knew to take care of themselves. But Dad enjoyed being outside. On warm summer nights, especially on Sundays after a round of golf, Dad would sit outside on that covered back veranda, trying to drink his Manhattan, my sisters and I skating {in our Made in USA white shoe-skates} all around him.

Many decades later, in his 80s and 90s, Dad spent a good part of every sunny day outside. His and Mom's condo has a generous-sized patio. A Danielle Steele book in his lap, Dad would sit out there on a cushy chair, the sun deepening his olive complexion. Or he'd sleep on one of the padded chaise lounges; his grandkids and great grandkids riding squeaky tricycles round and round him. Toward the end, Dad sat in the sun on the patio even if no one else was out there. He seemed content. One of my sisters bought some wind chimes and hung them in a tree that grows in the middle of the patio. The chimes made the gentlest, most soothing sounds as they caressed the air. Still do, although Dad's no longer there to hear them.

I hadn't thought about Dad and the wind chimes until a reader posted a comment with a link to her online business, jacobschimes.com. Then it hit me. Yes, Dad on the patio, the chimes playing music for him. The sun on his face. What a lovely memory. Why not buy some chimes for our own backyard, especially now that warmer weather's on its way? As I write this my throat constricts. Springtime without Dad? Impossible. But he would've enjoyed hearing about Jacob and his sister, Fern, and their USA-made chimes. So I'll close this post, and begin another dedicated to this kind reader. And what better tonic for our offshore ills than the sound of American-made chimes resonating in the wind?