+IN A GENTLE SUNSHINE

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Wednesday, June June 4, 2014.  As simply focused as my life is right now I certainly cannot say that “life is passing me by.”  The change of weather in this northern clime has worked a million times its magic on my behalf.  May brought unusually cooler and wetter days to the point that it is only now as June appears that it is sunny and warm enough to lift my spirits.

I have thought about writing many posts but my thoughts never have time to develop lately.  A FLASH in the pan — and they are gone like a fast bird on the wing.  This morning I have decided to simply write something here.  Something being “better than nothing” will have to do.  This is simply a collection of tiny happenings.

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I can look outward at the lush lawn surrounding the cat tail area in front of my sliding door (the only window) now and not see TRASH!!!!!  TRASH!!!

Last weekend on a coolish drizzly morning I dragged the partly broken, paint spattered 35-gallon garbage can I rescued from its spot of doom alongside the apartment complex’s dumpster around and through the cat tail (drainage) area to haul out accumulation of mostly windblown plastic items to deposit them in the dumpster.  I lost track at 17 full containers delivered.

I say nothing to the management of these buildings.  They know who cleaned that up.  I know they know.  My neighbor told me so.  Am I asking for recompense from them?  Nope.  This is on their conscience.  They certainly were not going to clean that dump up on their own.

Nobody who lives here, certainly myself, was going to feel inspired by the tiny piece of nature that holding area contains as it looked before I went to work on it.  And I DO know how to work!  Maybe that job took me 4 hours.  The benefit of the clean-up is immeasurable to the well-being of all who gaze upon it — especially the children!

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Children.  My life continues to swirl around the weekday care of my youngest grandson who just turned 22 months old.  Along with him have arrived children of many sizes, “colors,” planetary origins and religions.  All as gorgeous flowers who surround me as families escape the winter confines of small apartments out into the long light of northern days.  I have kept with me at least a dozen plastic kitty litter trays purchased from dollar stores over the years (never used for original intention).  They hold craft projects, sorted items for this-n-that — and make amazing individual little water play trays out on my cement “patio” for many young children to delight themselves with on a day’s afternoon.

Little African Islamic girls in their gorgeous cloth drapery, their young brothers, a little lost so-very-sad Anglo 4-year-old girl who recently lost her mother to jail while her video-game-playing father mostly ignores her.  Poor poor tiny little thing!  My heart aches for HER!!  (Google CDC ACE study – losing a parent to jail is one of the BIG Adverse Childhood Experiences that can turn a child’s life in the direction of tragedy over its lifespan.)  Hugs and much love she will get over here as I seek to understand her too-fast speaking so hampered by her great need for speech therapy.

And there are the many mothers of the many young children, immigrants to Fargo from Nepal as well as the refugees and immigrants from Africa who live here.  All, big and small, with wreathing smiles!  I have learned to set my one canvas folding chair, bright red, just on the grass for all the mothers who stop by to sit in while they inspect with calmness the activities of their young ones.

Yesterday afternoon – out came my 5 bottles of liquid poster paint from Wal-Mart (white, black, red, blue, yellow), some of my collection of 100 paint brushes and piles of typing paper.  We were blessed with NO WIND whatsoever!  All children from 6th graders to age 2 — around 10 of them — sat calmly together on that small cement slab outside my door with those paints and taught themselves and one another how to mix every color they could think of.  Four hours later I could have hung a small gallery with their creations.

Not one fuss except for the little lost girl — who tells me her parents walked away somewhere and are lost themselves (which makes me wonder if the man caring for her is her birth father or not) – who I finally had to walk home after 8 pm while the other children’s careful watchers never let their little ones out of their sight.  One of the elder men from Nepal stood unmoving at the top of a small knoll under the shade of a tree watching his little girl for over 4 hours.  He never interfered with her play.  He “just” loved her.

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Here is our first book out in ebook format.  A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job – I think we will have to find an alternative!).  Click here to view or purchase –

STORY WITHOUT WORDS

It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge.  Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site

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4 thoughts on “+IN A GENTLE SUNSHINE

  1. Hi Sweetie! Nice to hear from you in cyberland again! You never fail to make a memory pop into my head with your writing. When I had my first house in Tacoma, Washington many years ago, it wasn’t in a great neighborhood (I didn’t know that when I bought the house). My first hint was when a little boy and girl (siblings) were hanging around my house a lot. My daughter was about two at the time and I tried to do things with her outside as much as possible. I just thought the parents of the two little urchins two doors down were not very responsive parents until one day the little girl told me that her Mom kicked them both out of the house every day, early in the morning and didn’t let them back in till the sun went down. So very sad. I didn’t know the ins and outs of calling the protective service people back then and so I didn’t. We did form a neighborhood watch because we suspected the adults in the home were selling drugs. Through that process, they were evicted because they were “squatting” in the house and didn’t own it. Law enforcement had to come and remove them. I hope that they noticed those poor kids and contacted the proper authorities. I wish I had done more. I can say now, in my later life wisdom, that I do not hesitate to call protective services and have many times. My view is it’s better to be wrong and do something than to be right and do nothing.

    • There was activity over at that apartment today that makes me think the little girl has been moved somewhere else. I just couldn’t figure out how to go over to the man who has been caring for her this past week to talk to him about at least getting that child some speech therapy. Only about 10% of what she says can be understood. She is turning five in September if I understood her correctly which means she will have to wait another entire year before kindergarten and interventions from the schools. Meanwhile if someone has insurance for her, and North Dakota does offer special insurance for needy children, she can get speech therapy NOW. She is probably also eligible for Head Start which would be terrific for such a needy child. Whatever happened in that family has greatly upset her. That SHOULD be obvious to anyone caring for her.

      I am still trying to work up the nerve to go speak with that man. I can offer that my now 4-year-old grandson has benefited most greatly from his speech therapy. If children cannot even be understood when they do talk, then what? Very sad.

      Thank you for writing. I am left with a very heavy feeling about this situation near me.

      We are a nation who wants to own children like property. It is awkward at best to walk up to a stranger to begin a conversation about needs a child has. I am still undecided about what I can do. Who speaks for these children?

  2. Linda, I love hearing this account of your recent activities. Not only are you making a HUGE contribution to your grandson’s life, you’re improving the whole of your little community of kids of all ages!

    I had a conversation recently with someone I know who has a Ph D in psychology who told me they “could never work with preschoolers the way you do.” I found that a sad statement, since I agree with Gordon Neufeld that “If you understand preschoolers, you understand all you need to know about the human condition.” I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the idea…

    I wish all folks who work with people of any age had as part of their training working with young kids…

    • That’s kinda where the “operational manual” for being human needs to start. How a little person is in the world before age 5 pretty well determines how the whole rest of their life will go.

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