Seniors & Aging

Pam Stone | Gratitude the answer to spring blues

This time of year, when we are obliged both to stay indoors from the deluge of spring rain as well as write checks to Uncle Sam, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit like a chained dog: defeated and wanting to do much more than allowed.

I find, as Pollyanna as it might sound, that an “attitude of gratitude” is a most healing approach when you realize that weekend getaway you had long looked forward to is now a wash out, and the decking that desperately needs replacing is put on hold, once again, at least until a tax refund, if any, arrives. And while it may be little help to those of you whose lips were smacking at the prospect of sipping silo-sized margaritas while digging your toes into the sand at Nags Head, Proust, I think, read everyone’s mind when he penned, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

I write that with the conviction of a woman who once sat in my longtime “stylist” (a Beverly Hills term for somebody who cuts your hair) Rebecca’s chair, 20 years ago, hoping I hadn’t run out of money in the parking meter on Rodeo as the fines were enormous.

Rebecca, a lovely girl from New York whose Pre-Raphaelite tendrils of waist-length hair and deep-set, dark eyes, had inadvertently become a stylist to the stars, counting Brad Pitt, Madonna and Streisand as clients. Because of this, there were sometimes seen the most gobsmacking array of flowers sent by the personal assistants of these luminaries, as a way of a thank you.

We’re not talking a dozen red roses in a glass vase, here. We’re speaking of handwoven baskets the size of a microwave overflowing with cascades of old garden roses, hydrangeas, gardenias and trailing with ivy, ribbons and branches of …

“Is that dogwood?” I asked, gesturing with one free hand as the other was handing her the necessary foil sheets to wrap sections of my dishwater blonde hair for golden highlights.

“Wow, you know what that is?” Rebecca asked, incredulously. “It’s supposedly really hard to get and super expensive. I think it’s Japanese or something? Anyway, I couldn’t believe it when that was delivered this morning. Isn’t it gorgeous?”

“It’s spectacular,” I replied. “I don’t mean to be vulgar,” I added, totting up all them dogwoods that dotted the landscape of my little farm back in South Carolina, “but do you have any idea how much they charge for one of those branches of exotic dogwood?”

“Joey said probably about $60,” she said, taking another sheet from my outstretched palm.

And you know what? Looking at a branch of that familiar flowering tree, delicate and sweetly scented amongst the other blossoms, made me realize just how beautiful it truly is. I had “new eyes” indeed.

Not to mention a potential business plan.

So I say to all of you, yes, the constant rain is a drag, and Tax Day having been on its heels really does rub salt in the wound of depression. But, hark! Look around, people: Take note of the azaleas bursting forth, the birdsong that greets you each morning and the fact that you’ve probably got what equals the GDP of a small Eastern European country exotically blossoming all over your backyard.

Makes me wonder how much flowering kudzu might bring …

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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