Things have been dark and gloomy around here for a while. Last week we suffered a bitter cold wave (temps in the single digits) that spelled the end of my little container garden of herbs on my front porch. I checked them at the lowest point in that plunge and found them blackened and shriveled beyond redemption.
The weather is a little better now (in the low 50s today), but I hadn't opened the front door to look out until this morning. You have to understand that my "front door," for reasons too complicated to explain, is located at the very back of the house, reached only by a long narrow sidewalk and facing only a double row of 40-foot junipers and cypress pines. In the winter I always go out on the opposite side, through the garage. So I was shocked this morning to discover a planter full of bright green sprouts in that container--not just a hint of a leaf pushing through the ground but chives four to six inches tall, and bunches of parsley with inch-wide leaves ready for harvesting. And there were enough of them to allow me ample cutting and chopping to flavor the pot of potato soup bubbling on the stove. What a surprise! What joy!
And then, somehow, climbing out of the blue funk I had wallowed in for days, I started to see other "sprouts" as well. Facebook brought me several pictures of tiny kittens just finding their new forever homes. One of them went to a family of medievalists, who are about to discover the meaning behind Julian of Norwich's maxim, "All manner of things shall be well." Especially if you are lucky enough to share your little living space with a cat.
There were also two birth announcements of beautiful baby girls, plus a message from the mother of a child who, a couple of years ago, faced a doubtful future from a neonatal crib in the NICU. Her picture showed a beautiful 2-year-old, laughing, and blowing a kiss at the camera. Talk about a sprout! Then there was the picture of two grade-school age children, whom I have watched grow up from babyhood. They were on their knees, watching a robotics demonstration, their mouths open in rapt fascination as their interest and ideas burst forth. More sprouts.
And finally, from the grown-ups, came an invitation to join a group dedicated to start making 2017 a more positive year for all of us. The group was described this way:
Beginning Jan. 20, 2017, and for one year, members of S.T.O.P. For Kindness (a Service To Others Project) pledge to create a daily act of kindness, however small and simple, that shows appreciation for, or benevolence toward, a friend, a family member, a stranger, an organization, an animal, even a tree...because our members are passionate about spreading all sorts of benevolence. So that's 365 acts of mindful kindness per member, this year! And this Secret Group allows us to share and discuss our experiences here without attachment to ego. We are on a mission to stop the madness of 2017 with a S.T.O.P. for Kindness!
Talk about sprouts? Membership has already sprouted to over 700, and you may take this blog post as your invitation to join us. To do so, simply go to S.T.O.P. for Kindness:
It's time to quit complaining about what's wrong and start working to make things better.