April 20. "On the debris of your despair, you build your character." Emerson.
Yesterday on our return from the bus stop I caught the strong healing fragrance of the black poplar buds. Cedar smalled it, too. "What is it?" she asked. "Medicine," I told her. It heals skin problems. The wonderful ointment can only be made for a few days when the buds are fat but still closed. I remember helping Mom find and gather the buds. She would take us to an area that seemed like the kind of place where they would like to grow. We would walk until we smelled it. then we followed the fragrance until we found it. We'd gather until she had what she needed. We'd go home with sticky fingers and a pail of buds. She did the rest without me. She made enough for the family, friends and needy strangers that came begging for the balm of Gilead.
Well, I've spent the day looking for resources at the Itasca County Human Services complex in Grand Rapids. The professional staff is friendly, helpful and gracious. They seem to know that there are the elegant poor who may be struggling to survive but appear affluent in church box clothes and second hand shoes.
Itasca county must hold some kind of a generosity record. There is a senior nutrition program where I can eat dinner five days a week for $3.50 a day. I'd meet and dine with other oldsters. There is a reduced phone rate for tribal members, a Friendship Haven for adults, a foot care site, medical assistance (and dental), senior housing and food support. I was so close to falling through the cracks that I have splinters in my elbows.
April 21. When you're young you believe that all wrongs can be made right. You stand breathless at the cross roads carefully looking in all directions expecting to see that legendary hero coming in a shining pickup truck. When you reach your seventh decade you give up that idea, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, swallow your pride and see what human services is really doing with all that tax $.
One of the other things you can do when you reach the end of your rope... get your hair cut. Yes, I did it again. It's pretty short now but I think I am going all the way. Not to bald but short around the sides and a bit long on top.
"Poetry is the natural prayers of the human soul." Rilke.
April 22. Elizabeth A has sent a pkg from Scotland. It contained photos, post cards and a very interesting publication, "The Scots Magazine". It features a photographic tour of the Isle of Arran. The Island has about 60 miles of coastland a several mountains.
Today I washed my hair outside. With just a handful of hair left to clean I know the long hose to the barn would have plenty of warm water. After I toweled my hair dry and opened my eyes I found myself surrounded by 7 thirsty hens. With gentle clucks they asked me to fill a basin with water for them. They took turns dipping their beaks into the water and one by one they thanked me.