While life seems to have been upended for most of us, some things have changed little. Spring in our community is always a time of rebirth and joy. As things green up and flowers poke out of the ground, we see things in a different way.
There are definitely events and people we miss, like how difficult it was to NOT celebrate Easter with our own immediate and parish families yet honor the greatest of all sacrifices while viewing TV specials of the season at home. Our lives in Whitewater have been fulfilled with a variety of volunteer activities and other city events that bring a social connection that is hard to replace. Missing monthly gatherings with the Bingo Biddies and Nifty Ladies Red Hatters left huge holes in the calendar. In spite of this adversity, we have seen tremendous creativity in all sorts of places. We have learned new ways of staying connected. It’s been interesting to be invited to participate in meetings via ZOOM, FACETIME or SKYPE. Getting to see our grandchildren do their Easter Egg hunt at their home or see our son in Milwaukee, when he put some tribute lighting on his home, have helped keep our connections closer.
We are using more e-mail and phone calls to stay connected but, finding special, small gifts of Easter cookies or garden flowers left on our doorstep really brought smiles to our faces and inspired us to begin dropping off small gifts for our friends to let them know we are thinking of them. The Happy Heart Hunt is growing and bringing smiles between the miles, as well.
We are grateful for the “carry outs,” where the food was still excellent but, it is not the same as seeing Rick, Ellie and their staff chatting it up, or enjoying Benny’s broad grinned greeting and the wonderful attention from his impeccable wait staff.
We enjoy reading the countless stories of people in our community that are stepping up to make sure our community members, school kids and others in need, get the help and food that they need to weather these challenging days. Thank you!
Living at the end of a street, often used for folks’ exercise routes, we have been really pleased with the “SAFE” driveway visits with friends taking short rest breaks while out for walks or bicycle rides.
More time is giving us the opportunity to explore the “treasures” we are finding along the creek bed and mud flats where Cravath Lake used to be. It is a living historical trove waiting to be found! We can get away from the news, the depressing reports and the political twists of the truth by venturing out and tending to what Mother Nature has provided us. At the south end of Franklin St., where Spring Brook feeds Cravath Lake, we have been privileged to view the lake drawdown for the past 9 months, on a daily basis. As the ice cleared, and the snow disappeared, we were able to see what remains of the lakebed, and all the flotsam the years have left at the bottom of the lake.
Venturing out onto the mudflats, we have diligently attempted to collect dozens of barrels, tires, buckets, tanks, pots and pans, and literally hundreds of bottles and cans. We have pulled out crockery, milk cans, bicycles, and bedsprings. The amount of timber and branches, from seasons of storms, as well as very hungry beavers, has kept the chains saws running.
It is not all work, mind you, as we are entertained by an abundance of wildlife. The cranes and geese are nesting. The wood ducks have filled the woodpecker holes in the trees. The mink and muskrat are fishing in the narrow creek, and the woodchucks have shared their holes with the foxes. We have been fortunate to follow the upbringing of 6 very playful fox kits, tumbling and hunting just outside the patio door. Momma fox has her hands full with this group. We would not mind if this clan sticks around throughout the summer to keep the chipmunks at bay! And then there are those two local eagles that perch in the dead elm tree periodically, and swoon over the mudflats looking for a meal. We do not get to see the owls regularly, but we do hear them every evening. While it is always nice to see the deer so close, we do wish that they would leave the hostas alone!
The last week we have been observing a marsh hawk, building her nest. She does not seem to mind our intrusion, although she does stop work and watch us for a while.
We have most of the garden started, and we have been splitting and sharing hostas and other plants with friends. The grape hyacinths, jonquils, daffodils, crocus and violets are plentiful, but unfortunately, so is the garlic mustard. So, back to work.
Best of all, we have been stewards to a “nature preserve” in our backyard. We are surrounded by Mother Nature’s more wonderful expressions of life. All our new furry and feathered “friends” bring a new measure of interest to our “reality show.” They have joined our regularly visiting deer, possum, muskrat, skunk, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, snowy egrets, and great blue herons to provide endless enjoyment. We always enjoy sharing. So, give us a call, and we can provide a socially distant tour. Until then, stay safe and keep washing those hands!
— Our thanks to Rick and Jeanine Fassl for sharing these fascinating “musings,” together with the beautiful pictures.
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