Crazy Weather

Exactly one week ago, I posted this photo.

IMG_3455

It was taken right after a light shower, with a visible rainbow in an almost complete arc. The brown grass was starting to turn green, and the empty branches were beginning to show their buds. Spring was on its way.

Then two days ago, our temperature went way up to the 80′s Fahrenheit. We put away our heavy coats into the closet. Me and my son played hoops in our driveway basketball court in our t-shirt and shorts. That night it was hot enough that I was tempted to turn on the air conditioner. Did summer arrived already and altogether skipped spring?

Yesterday the heavy rains came and it was gloomy all day. But it was alright, for we badly need the rain. Besides, the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.”

But this morning I woke up to this.

IMG_3456

Snow? No! The temperature dipped below freezing again. Needless to say, our heater was on once more, and our winter coats were out of the closet again.

Crazy Iowa weather!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

It’s April. The temperature is rising, specially with the sun shining. The storm clouds are bringing showers instead of snow. The dormant grass is awakening. The naked tree boughs are budding. The flowers are almost peeping. And even the rainbow is appearing. We are in the threshold of spring.IMG_3455(photo taken in our front yard with iPhone panoramic view)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes / Flock of Birds

(Here’s my entry to this week’s WordPress photo challenge.)

Recently, here in the northern hemisphere where I live, I have been seeing flocks of geese in their majestic V-formation in our skies.  And they are flying north. That just mean one thing – spring is coming!

However this morning, as I looked in the sky, I saw a different flock of birds.

IMG_3193

They seem to be in a somewhat V-formation as well. But why are they not heading north? Does it mean spring and summer will skip us this year?

IMG_3196

No. Because they are not a flock of geese, and they are not even birds at all! They are steel birds!

IMG_3197

They are a flock of stunt planes, and they are probably practicing for an upcoming air show. That means spring (and summer) is not far behind indeed.

(*photo taken with an iPhone)

Of Goslings and Ducklings

June has rolled in upon us. The entry of this month heralds that spring will be officially transitioning into summer here in the northern part of the hemisphere. Born and raised in a tropical country, where there is eternal summer, I can’t wait for the summer to come, after experiencing a harsh winter here in Iowa. Come to think of it, we even had a snowstorm in May this year!

Another thing that June is known for is weddings. This month is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage, and that may be the reason why it is the most popular month to tie the knot. Many couples will take the plunge this June and start their own little family.

Speaking of family, it’s not just humans who raise their little family this time of year. I can see mother deer and their fawns, as well as big and little rabbits frolicking in our yard, much to the dismay of my wife, as they eat her flowers.

A few mornings ago while I was running, I saw a family of geese swimming in the pond near our place.

img_2495

img_2498

A couple of weeks ago, we also came face to face with a family of ducks, while we were dining in a restaurant that is beside a man-made pond.

IMG_1467

IMG_1469

Like the seasons, with spring turning into summer, then into autumn, and finally into winter – these little goslings and ducklings will grow and mature, and then not too long after, they will become parents and will have little critters of their own.

It was spring last year when we learned that my wife was pregnant with our third child. And it was also spring last year that we lost our supposed to be third child in an early termination of pregnancy.

Few nights ago, my wife commented that we could have been holding our 5-month old baby right now. Yeah, that’s an endearing thought.

But we don’t dwell on the “what ifs” and “could have been.” We have long accepted that it was not meant to be. Besides we have two “older” children that are constant source of joy and inspiration for my wife and I.

Being a parent, I believe, is the greatest privilege that our Creator have endowed us.

For all the parents out there who have little ones right now, can you please hug your babies a little tighter, for our sake. May you all have a beautiful summer.

********

Related Posts:

Goodbye Ella Grace

Life’s Gifts and Surprises

Tag-sibol

May bagong himig ang hanging umiihip,

Pakingan ang awit ng ibon sa himpapawid,

Tunaw na ang niebeng, bumalot sa ‘ting paligid,

Lumisan na ang marahas na tag-lamig.

 

Magbunyi o lupa, tag-sibol ay salubungin,

Gisingin ang mga binhi, sa iyo’y nakahimbing,

Iluwal ang mga talulot sa iyong sinapupunan,

Iwagayway ang mga bubot na dahong luntian.

 

Bangon na mga natutulog na kaluluwa,

Nalibing na mga pangarap hayaang lumaya,

Ating iwaksi mga agiw ng pag-aalala,

Panahon nang pausbungin, ang bagong pag-asa.

IMG_2103

bagong sibol na bulakak sa aming harapan

Life’s Gifts and Surprises

Another year. Another birthday. Another year older.

As I ponder on my yet another birthday, I cannot deny the fact that I am not getting any younger. In a few more years, I’ll hit the big 5-0. Then not far along, I will be in the retirement age. And I wish to retire early too. Then after that, what? The “golden” years? Somehow this “gold rush” is nothing I want to rush into. Is it really all downhill from here?

But there’s a lot to be thankful for. I have chased my dream and is living it. Nothing more can I ask for. (Or maybe that one dream of being a rock star got away.) I have a wonderful wife. I have two wonderful kids. The kids are grown up and in a few years they will be off to college and off on their own. I am healthy, or I think I am, and I have never felt better. Except for some ache here, and there, and here, and here, and …….Sorry I digress.

Over the years I have received some awesome birthday gifts. A full army fatigue uniform with matching toy machine gun when I was three. Did I tell you I dreamed of being a soldier when I was a small boy? A battery operated toy fighter jet plane that run in circles and spread open its wings, given by my Ninong, when I was six. I love it, even though I wish it could also fly. A red bicycle when I was eleven. I rode that bike until I was in college, and I even spray painted it purple once with the help of my friends. Purple? Don’t ask.

My favorite birthday gifts though are not cool toys, or some preppy clothes, or expensive gadgets. It is far more priceless than that.

About 2 weeks before my 31st birthday, my eldest child, my daughter, was born. It was an early birthday gift really, and it was a marvelous gift. A gift that just gets more precious as the years goes by. What could be a better gift?

Then nine years ago, exactly on my 36th birthday, my youngest child, my son, was born. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Because my son shares the same birthday with me, since then my birthday celebration turned into a children’s party or pushed into a secondary event. But I don’t mind. I don’t mind it at all.

Life begets life. Wonderful gifts of life. Nothing else can top those birthday gifts, right? Well I was proven wrong!

On this most recent birthday of mine, or just about that time, my wife and I had a surprise. It knocked my socks off and sent me into a tailspin! Quite unexpected, but it is a pleasant surprise.

I know I am getting old, but nothing makes you younger than this kind of life changing event. My wife and I may have shock and apprehensions initially, but now it is turning into delightful anticipation.

My two kids are getting excited too, for they know that love is never divided. It only gets multiplied.

The flowers are blooming. The grass is growing. The birds are singing. It is spring time. Life begins again. In diapers.

spring time in our home

The Empty Bench

There is one item in our home that is a favorite subject for photography. After looking at all the countless pictures we have taken of it, I decided to make a movie out of them.

This movie is dedicated to all who have loved and lost. Having loved and lost is still better though than never have loved at all.

“Chairs. Why do there have to be chairs? It shows it’s empty now, there’s no one there.” — Michael Johnson

Promise of Spring

I went outside for a run yesterday, for the first time in about 4 months. It was my usual 3 mile run around our neighborhood. I was a little out of shape so I took it slow and not the competitive 9-minute-mile pace I used to do. In fact I was even reduced to a walk when I got to the uphill part of my run. But I did not feel bad, I was just thankful to be outside again and  just enjoyed the world around me. After being enclosed for so long during the bitter cold winter, it felt so liberating.

It was still chilly, about mid 40′s F (7-8 C), so I had to dress in layers. The air was cold and crisp, but I could smell that spring was in the air. It was a bit cloudy with the sun peeking through the clouds when I started, but by the end of my run the clouds have rolled away and I felt the warm sunshine in my face. The snow was almost gone except for few patches, revealing the brownish-pale green grass underneath it (I almost forgot that there is grass beneath all those blanket of snow). The shrubs appeared trampled and crushed, perhaps from the weight of the snow that covered them. There were scattered branches of trees that have broken, again from the heavy load of snow and ice. In a far distance, down in the valley, I viewed that the river had swelled to its banks from all the melting snow plus the rain we had in the past 2 days.

I was glad I did not bring my i-pod, for the songs of the birds around me became my music. I felt like Rocky with the birds cheering me on. Aside from birds that I always see, I spotted 3 blue jays, and 1 red cardinal. I also saw 3 flocks of geese flew above me in their wonderful V-formation. The birds were back from their southern migration. 2 dogs from my neighbor greeted me with their friendly bark as they wag their tails (I was really hoping they will not give me a chase as I’m not in shape for a sprint). I spotted 3 squirrels and 1 even crossed my path, while a rabbit bounced away quickly when he saw me coming.

As I continued my run, I passed a neighbor’s house with his Christmas decoration still in his front yard. Maybe he felt it was still too cold to take them down, or maybe he will leave them there until the next Christmas. Then I saw 2 boys playing with their scooters in their driveway, with their helmets and heavy jackets on. When I passed the playground, I saw a father rocking her 2 little girls in the tire swing. I know those girls will have a beautiful memory of their father for times just like these.

As I slowed down to a stroll at the end of my run and as I catch my breath, I again looked around me. The pale grass will soon turn to deep green and will start to grow (It’s not that I’m excited about growing grass for that means mowing the lawn!)…….the bare trees will soon show their blossoms and their leaves will reappear…….the shrubs will bounce back and will flourish once more……… the sleeping bulbs will sprout and their flowers will bloom……..and life will begin again…….for that’s the promise of spring.

I thank God for that promise.