Friday, March 6, 2020

The Budding

I like spring. It is a beginning, a start an awakening. It signals an end to the cold (mostly, not quite totally) and some of the dreariness that winter is sometimes known for. I get tired of being cold. It seeps into my body more so than it did when I was younger. I also find that the gray and the cold seeps into my heart and soul a bit. 

We have our roller coaster of temps from day to day, but even the dips don’t seem as low as they have been. Yesterday, I noticed the flowering of trees on our street. I saw and heard a few more birds sitting on our back deck rails singing whatever song pops into their head. I think birds sing because they can, and that’s not so bad, is it? 

Spring announces an awakening. What was once asleep and thought to be dead and gone, rises and grows. Witness the ghostly trees of winter budding and flowering. I see bags of mulch in my neighbors’ driveways and a few hearty souls on knees in their flower beds. I know the time will come when Kim drops hints about how we need to spend our upcoming weekends.  

We plant seeds in each other, especially kids, don’t we?  

Sometimes, we see the budding and the sprouting quickly. Sometimes, we wonder if anything will take root and grow. And at times, sometimes nothing grows despite all we try, all we do. 

My brother, Jim, is four years older than me. I admire him for all he’s done, for all he’s been through. You see, Jim didn’t take to high school and I don’t think high school took to Jim. Part of it was because he followed Jack, who was the first boy in the family after five girls, and part of it was because he followed Kathy, who was the last girl of six. Tough shoes to fill. 

Jim tried college and he didn’t take to that either. Then he tried a tech school and he didn’t take to that. I think as a last option, Jim enlisted in the Air Force. He served a hitch in Vietnam on a flight crew, but because he was a mechanic, he had to fly with troops into hot spots to make sure the aircraft got in and out safely. 

He served his hitch and enrolled in college. It took. He graduated with honors with a double major in art and architecture. Who would have thought? 

Jim is proof that kids get it, that people in general get it. Not necessarily on our time, but in their time.  

Did you know that the seed of the bamboo plant doesn’t bud for five years after planting? Five years! 

We plant seeds in our kids and in each other each day with the words we choose, our acts of kindness. We also plant seeds in our kids and in each other with a lack of thought, with meanness, with a lack of care and concern, with a dismissive attitude. And, those kids grow, too.
We are witnesses to that budding in kids and in others.  

Those buds, those flowers aren’t as pretty or as pleasant as the buds and flowers planted with care, with love, with compassion, kindness and tenderness. Yet, just as we reap the fruits of what we sow and plant with love, we reap the fruits of what we sow and plant with indifference, with a lack of patience, with a lack of . . . 

We can do better, you and me. We need to do better. 

Last week, I wrote about the Choice of Words. Sometimes, with those words or lack of words we give off an air of negativity, of indifference. Sometimes we convey that someone is less than. If I’ve done that to you this year, this month, this week, I am sorry. I don’t want to plant any seed that produces the flower that results from that. If I used a careless word or no word at all, I am sorry. Again, I don't want to plant any seed that produces the flower that results from that. 

So today, I will once again correct my own behavior. Fridays and the end of the week are good for that. It’s a day we can examine what we did or didn’t do, perhaps what we should have done. And, if I have to keep working to correct my own behavior, I’m willing to do that.  

I ask you, too, to reflect on where you are with your words, your actions, the seeds you have been and are planting. Will they result in the buds and flowers you want to see and enjoy? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona. I will post parts and passages on my author page on Facebook.

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.                                    

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Yao and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe