Weekend Coffee Share: “Wick”

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If we were having coffee this morning, we could giggle and chatter about the joys of spring here in Michigan. The crocuses, the daffodils, and the potholes that have bloomed everywhere. The end of my self-imposed winter hibernation. The beginning of my state’s most extended and well-known season: Construction.

For me, the surest sign of spring is the return of the robin, our state bird. When I was a kid, my aunt Marian taught us to “stamp” robins. She would lick her right thumb, press it into her left palm, and then turn her right hand over and pound her fist into her left palm, shouting out a number.

robin

In theory, she was counting the robins because counting and stamping one hundred robins each spring was supposed to guarantee good luck for the upcoming year. In reality, we all suspected that Marian cheated. We didn’t mind, though, because we all cheated too. It was just too hard to keep accurate running totals in our minds.  After hitting one hundred, most of us kept on stamping a few surplus robins just to make sure we really hit a hundred.

The best part of stamping robins with Aunt Marian was calling her every spring to tell her when we saw our first robin. She’s been gone seven years now, but I still reach for the phone when I see the first one, only to remind myself that she’s in heaven, probably lying to the angels about how many robins she’s stamping at that very moment.

My kids have never gotten into the whole business of stamping and counting, but they’ve caught my enthusiasm for spotting the first robin each year. One morning a few weeks ago, as my boys and I were leaving for school, my youngest started bouncing around in the back seat and squealing “Robin! Robin!”

“Where?” I demanded.

“Never mind. It was a cardinal,” he said sheepishly.

For the record, it was a mourning dove.

What he lacks in in knowledge of birds, he makes up for in enthusiasm. Of course, his older brother now feels the need to tease him by randomly shouting out the names of other birds. “Ostrich!” he’ll bellow.  “Emu! Pelican! Never mind,” he’ll say, pointing at the nearest mourning dove.  “It was a cardinal.”

The robin is more than just part of my family’s weird traditions. He is also a symbol of hope, of new beginnings. A sign of better things to come.  His red breast is thought by some to represent the rising of the sun, the dawning of a new day.

I like that.

In one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden, little Mary befriends a helpful robin who leads her to the garden door and the hidden key that unlocks its secrets. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book, the garden appears to be cold and abandoned, just like Mary; but a little bit of hope and attention bring both the child and the plants to full, vibrant life.

Dickon, the boy who learns her secrets and guides her along the way, shows her how a seemingly dead plant can still have a little life deep inside. He says they are “wick”– alive, or lively.

Every spring, when I see my first robin, I think of that moment in The Secret Garden, when lonely little Mary follows the robin and finds the key to her own inner springtime. I think of Mary, and I think of Marian, and I know that somewhere, even on the very worst days, there is a part of me that is  “wick.”

Take a moment this week to look for the signs of spring that mean the most to you. Count your robins, pick a daffodil or too, have a picnic. Whatever it takes, get out there and welcome spring with open arms and remember that you, too, are “wick” inside, no matter how dark the winter has been.

And if that fails, you can always try counting one hundred robins for good luck.

garaden

 

Be sure to visit Diana over at Part-Time Monster to link up and see what some other bloggers have had to say with their weekly coffee share.  Thanks to Diana for hosting the #coffeeshare posts!

Randomness

I don’t really have any one big topic to write about right now, but I have a whole bunch of random things that I feel like sharing.  Just for snicks.

  • The daffodils are almost done, but the lilacs are getting ready to bloom. What a great reminder that life may suck sometimes, but true beauty always comes back.  Things get better. They have to.
  • I just worked up the courage to enter the Writer’s Digest annual competition.  I used to enter it every year, but sort of let it fall by the wayside a while ago. I have no delusions about taking first place, but I’d like to get recognition for being somewhere in the Top 100. Even if I’m all the way down there in 100th place I’ll be ecstatic.
  • My espresso machine just broke. I feel as though I’ve lost a valued member of my family.
  • My daughter went to prom this weekend, and I got all nostalgic and weepy when I saw the pictures of her and her friends dressed up for the event. There are rumors around town that I spent the evening singing “Sunrise, Sunset” at the top of my lungs, but I can neither confirm nor deny that particular rumor.
  • I cut off my oldest son’s hair last week and discovered that he’s a pretty good-looking kid now that I can actually see his face.  Poor kid has this absolutely astonishing hair that grows wide instead of long. He usually won’t allow me to cut it because he says it is an endangered habitat for the baby eagles nesting in there. Yes, he says things like that all time.
  • My house has had no heat for a week, and my relationship with my afghans has moved to the next level.
  • Interesting tidbit that some folks may not realize:  if you are a blogger and you leave a comment on my blog, it leaves a clickable link that readers can follow back to your blog. This does not mean that I am sending people to your blog or linking to it in any way; when you leave a comment, you are creating that link yourself.
  • Readers who click on the link created by your comments are not “stalking” you.  Bloggers who approve your comments creating these links are not “stalking” you, either.
  • I will never again buy frozen burritos from the local Amish store. I still don’t know what was wrapped up inside those suckers, but it should never have been put inside a burrito. That was a bad idea.  And I should never have eaten two of them; that was an even worse idea.
  • Going back for a third one the next day was just stupidity on my part. I’ve got no excuse.
  • Speaking of the Amish, I saw something yesterday that was just delightfully wrong on so many levels: four Amish ladies, in full black dresses, bonnets and aprons, jumping on a trampoline.
  • Words failed me.
  • Seriously, words never fail me.
  • I have chosen to discontinue my author interviews for the time being for some personal reasons that I’d rather not go into right now. Don’t worry; I plan on starting up again when things calm down a bit in my world.
  • And speaking of author interviews . . . those of you who enjoyed my conversation with Zombie author M. Lauryl Lewis may be interested to know that her book Grace Lost has been nominated for the Zombie Book of the Month Club. If you’d like to vote, click here and scroll through the comments until you see the mention of Grace Lost. Then just “like” it. That’s all there is to it.
  • I am speaking about writing and self-publishing at my local library in two weeks, and I am utterly terrified. I just know I’m going to stutter; my old lisp is going to come back, and I will probably forget how to speak English. That’s a problem, because I don’t really know how to speak anything else, either.
  • Oh, and one last thing. Like any author, I have set up Google alerts to let me know whenever there is an online mention of my pen name, my real name, the names of my books, and so on. When I receive an email letting me know of such a mention, I check it out. That is not “stalking.” That is “protecting my professional image.”
  • And that’s all I’ve got to say on that.

Now I’m off to watch part of my youngest nephew’s baseball game, followed by youngest son’s first game of the season. It’s cold and damp outside, and sitting on the bleachers is going to be just plain awful.

And I can’t wait.