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Tag Archives: spring

Almost through the darkness of winter

It’s spring … oh, okay, maybe not yet. But it’s definitely time for spring, if you measure the length and severity of this winter. Just talk to anyone from Boston or Montreal, and you’ll see in their shell-shocked, still frozen eyeballs how badly we all need the season to get here. In fact, if you listen closely, you’ll probably hear the whispered chant: “6:45 P.M. March 20–if I can just make it to 6:45 P.M. March 20 …”???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

That’s the official time that spring begins in Eastern Daylight Time.

It’s been a hard and long winter and we all deserve the rebirth and rejuvenation we associate with this season. The English definition of “spring” is to pounce, to leap, to jump into activity. Water bubbling up from the ground is called: a spring.

So let’s pounce. Let’s bounce off the bleakness and cold of a severe winter and get into action.

For me and for mom that will mean looking forward to marketing and talking about our latest book: Violet Fate. It’s our favorite so far, but it came out during the worst winter of our life. We experienced the kind of loss that stops all action and all desire to plan the future—we lost my father, her husband.

As we were driving this week to pick up his last effects, we talked about what we are feeling now. We are still reeling, but we want to move forward again. And one of the feelings we recognize, when it comes to getting published is astonishment: who could have imagined just a few years ago that mom and I would have three books out and three more in action. Who would have thought that my sister Allyn would be a successful children’s book author with even more books in action than us or that she would inspire us to pursue this dream? Who could have imagined that mom and I would ever be called a “mother/daughter writing duo,” would appear on television, would give talks all over Northern Virginia? Who could have predicted Mom and I and Allyn would sweat together through the ups and downs of getting published.

We had to put our talks with Applebee’s about an official launch on hold to get through the loss of this winter. But we’re talking to them again, and we’re going to make it happen with one change: it will be a book party—a celebration of the surprises life has in store. Some of those surprises may include sub-zero weather and mounds of snow … and soul-wrenching grief. But others will start with what inevitably happens in spring: a seed germinates, spreads its tiny sprout through the nourishment of the soil where it’s placed, sticks its little head through to the sunshine, and if give enough food: grows into plants and finally flowers.

 

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A small miracle needed in a big way

I’ve done a lot of grumbling lately. The weather has been lousy for four months. My work load has been heavy. My mom and I haven’t had the time we had last year to market our newest book, Wretched Fate. My dad can no longer drive which means many hours figuring out how to get my parents back and forth to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store. None of which compares to the real heartache: Mom and I, and the rest of my wonderful family are dealing with: Dad’s Alzheimer’s.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

So when a tiny piece of sunshine breaks through, it feels like a miracle. But then, maybe it is.

For about a month and a half, my daddy cheerfully utters the same phrase whenever we get into the car: “You’ll let me know if you see any deer, won’t you?” As long as we are driving where there are trees, he says the phrase several times. There’s a reason he repeats the request: In the largely rural areas of Ohio and Michigan where we grew up and lived many years, we spent hours driving around and trying to spot deer. It was a family tradition that all of us remember from vacations or Sunday drives. And even though none but my oldest sister lives in a rural area, I think we all still search the tree lines when we’re driving in the country.

It’s a bit disconcerting, however, when you live in an urban area like Washington, D.C. and you’re just on your way from point A to point B and happen to be on a tree-lined street. But we always smile at Dad’s “joke,” and we nod and reassure him that we’ll be on the lookout.

Recently, Mom, Dad and I were on our way back from a doctor’s appointment that didn’t take as long as we all expected, so we decided to take a ride through a local park. It was the first pleasant, spring-like day in many weeks, and we were all in a good mood. I cranked up the music, and Dad responded almost immediately. He may not have remembered my name half an hour earlier, but give my Dad a melody, and he will sing along. He usually knows the melody, and he often knows most the words.

We took a winding road that led into the park, and on the way in, Mom and I heard “Let me know if you see any deer, won’t you?” All three of us chuckled. Then we rounded a bend and there before us, was a long stretch of land with seven deer munching happily on grass. I slowed way down, but they barely batted their beautiful eyes. They were young and didn’t know enough to be afraid (park season hasn’t started). Or maybe they just sensed that we were a car of people in awe.

The deer were so close to the road, we were afraid to roll down the window and make any noise that would scare them away. So we glided slowly by, as silently as we could, all of us appreciating the moment. Then we turned around and came back and appreciated their beauty again. They never stirred. Just lifted their heads and stared back as if to say, “Yea, we see you. But we are not about to move.”

In a municipal park that is packed later in spring and summer, to see seven deer out in the open is truly wondrous. It dispersed the drabness that can easily surround everyday life. And it gave my housebound daddy, who is dealing with a horrible disease that keeps him inside his apartment far too much, a few minutes of pure pleasure.

Genilee Swope Parente

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Spring cleaning

The long, dark cold of winter is mostly behind us, and many of us are beginning the process of cleaning out drawers and closets, un-clumping the dirt that’s packed so we can plant gardens and airing out everything that got so stale over the winter.

In Spring, we begin to see the world differently, starting with the very first moment we smell that the breezes have miraculously changed—instead of heavy and dank, the air is light and fragrant. In Spring, it feels like we are throwing off the cloak of age—that extra few years that winter added to our burden. Spring gives us the urge to step out of that

cloak and move—to take walks and get down on our knees to play in dirt. To live a different life: eat healthy and fresh and sleep with our windows open so we can let in the new breezes. It’s light already when we hop out of bed, and it stays lighter longer so that our work day doesn’t start and end in darkness. We feel like we have more hours and more energy even though nothing has really changed.

Spring gives us the urge for renewal. We may never get around to painting that spare room and turning into a guest haven, but when Spring comes, we think about it. We are sick and tired of the grays of winter, especially in those years (like this one), when the gray was never broken up by the white of snow. So we look around and see our home or our office with fresh eyes, anxious to create something new in celebration of the end of sameness.

SpringCleaning1

As writers, we can take that feeling of renewal to our writing. We can shake the cobwebs out of something we’ve done and take a dust rag to the

 words. We can un-clump our writer’s block and plant the seeds of a new project. We can open the windows of our brain and let the creativity waft into our souls.

Spring is rebirth—wet earthiness and warm happiness. Let’s plant an idea and see it grow.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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