Beauty blooms in January

“Beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it. Everywhere there is tenderness, care and kindness there is beauty.”

-John O’Donohue

Perhaps it was a little crazy to take on a hospice cat over the holidays, or was it?

I was asking that potentially depressing question to a friend earlier this week since my husband passed away in hospice right after Christmas a few years ago.

On this gloomy bitter cold Sunday I’ve been watching Mr. Bojangles curl up on a cozy cat bed right beside me.

And I’ve actually been finding myself smiling.

Mr. Bojangles is holding his head up high, but not quite as high as he did when he first joined me.

Still he does so with grace.

Sure the fellow’s estimated to have only 2-5 months left at this point, but who really knows when our time is up anyway.

Three days ago Mr. Bojangles had stopped eating and didn’t seem to be drinking water. Yet by the next evening, I discovered he was back in the game.

However, it’s clear his appetite isn’t what it once was no matter the type of food given.

I’ve also noticed Mr. Bojangles is moving a bit slower, still every step he takes is deliberate. Though I no longer find him climbing the stairs to join the dogs up in the kitchen for breakfast.

Instead he prefers I join him in his private room and hold him as he tenderly takes in every flake of his tuna meals.

It seems Mr. Bojangles likes this extra one on one time.

I do know that I love providing him the extra attention he deserves along with some extra warm blankets.

Mid January can be especially cruel here in the upper midwest and this week has been no different.

Sub zero temperatures, icy roads with 20 car pile ups, and what looked like the loss of my hospice cat 3 days ago was beginning to play havoc with my soul.

Yet as I smell my beef stew now simmering in the crock pot while watching fresh snowflakes dance out the window to the sounds of that hospice cat still purring softly, I know it still is a beautiful world.

Yes, even in January.

We may fade, but our gifts still remain

Aging gracefully’s my goal.

Yet aging gracefully doesn’t come easily.

Take yesterday, for example.

I was limping across my little backyard to water my two small flower beds.

But I was also wilting in the 95 degree heat.

I felt old and overrun with a bum heel, bulging bunions, and bad crooked toes.

The humidity wasn’t helping any either.

As I lifted my tired green hose over the blooming yellow day lilies, I finally felt my mood lift some.

They were speaking to me in a way.

It was as if they were whispering, “If today you can’t bloom, there’s always tomorrow.”

I smiled and took a quick picture of my new best buds.

Then moving on to water my zinnias in the other bed, I noticed one lonely purple bloom to the side who looked a bit spent.

She’d seen better days and had obviously lost her luster.

Or so I thought.

Suddenly a young Monarch butterfly stopped by her petals for a visit.

He clearly saw her value here on earth and honored the gifts she still had to give. Fluttering his orange wings for a while he slowly sipped her nectar.

I took another picture.

This morning after a good night’s sleep, I find myself blooming once again.

The air is fresh and much cooler.

I’ve already bandaged up my bum heel, bunions, and bad toes.

And now I’m ready for my six mile nature walk.

With a camera and notebook tucked in my backpack, I need to get going.

I may not be young, but I still have many gifts to share as well.