Looking Up Is Where It’s At: A Springtime Story

When my phone rang at 10 AM on April 27, I knew that I would be in for a scolding. That’s because the name displayed on the phone was none other than Dooitt Orr Else, the no-nonsense CEO of the blogosphere. I’d never had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. Else, but I knew all about her. Bottom line: she does not suffer fools gladly.

I answered the call. “Hello, can I help you?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“Help me? I doubt it, fool. But you can help yourself. Listen, mister — and, by the way, this is Dooitt Orr Else speaking — it has come to my attention that you have yet to publish an article that centers around spring 2021. What is the matter with you? You’ve written about past springs, have you not? The answer is yes. Therefore it will be unacceptable if you allow the present season to vanish into your rearview mirror without comment.”

“Sir, you have fallen short of the contractual obligations that you entered into with WordPress. Get to work on a spring-related article or I shall be forced to revoke your writing privileges. Not that anyone would mind if I did. Over and out!”

Holy shit, that conversation, if you can call it that, left me worried. I mean, what the hell would I do with my freed-up time if I no longer were allowed to hurl my words of quasi-wisdom into cyberspace? Man, I don’t want to learn how to do yoga. And I don’t want to learn how to bake. Hence, the next day I took to the streets to see what spin I might put on spring 2021.

A lovely day it was when I began the adventure soon after breakfast. On the hazy side, yes, but there’s a charm to haziness. And the temperature was very comfortable, so I knew that I wouldn’t start sweating like a pig as I pounded the sidewalks. My plan was to admire and investigate the flora on some of the blocks in my neighborhood and also on some in a nearby area, as nature had begun to come alive gloriously several weeks earlier. Most deciduous trees were fully in leaf. And many of their flowering varieties were strutting their stuff. But what would be my focus? I wasn’t sure when I left the house, but two minutes later I knew.

I knew, because I decided to photograph a pine tree on a home’s front lawn, but not from a distance. Instead, I got real close to the densely-needled beauty and looked up. What a view! No pavement, no houses, no electrical wires were part of the scene. Nothing but the tree and the sky. The template for the walk, and for the story that you now are reading, immediately fell into place. I would look upward frequently and see what was to be found.

The natural world, needless to say, is infinitely complicated in terms of design, structure, materials, color, and in terms of every other aspect that one might think of. We reside on a planet that is an absolute wonderland. These facts are what hit me the hardest as I wandered along, stopping here and there to peer heavenward through tree branches. The branches, the leaves and needles, the blossoms on those trees so adorned, interplayed at wild angles, combining to form intricate canvases, canvases that shape-shifted whenever I changed position even slightly. Add to this the play of sunlight and the calmness of the sky . . .  the sights were truly stunning.

What’s more, most of the canvases looked like works of modern art to me, swaths of colors and in-your-face immediacy being major parts of their hearts and souls. But I also enjoyed the more delicate constructions, especially the unassuming manner in which one tree, with a smattering of white petals on its thin branches, met the sky.

For the past 18 months I’ve been walking my ass off in my and other neighborhoods, most of them in the Philadelphia burbs, doing so for health reasons and also to get off the living room sofa often enough so as not to take root on it. I’m a lazy guy at the core, though, not one who is thrilled about engaging in regular exercise sessions. But I plan to maintain the routine for as long as I am able. And looking up will help. As the title of this opus says, that’s where it’s at. Sometimes, anyway.

Okay, Mrs. Else. I’ve met your demand. Don’t call me again anytime soon!

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments. Gracias.)

128 thoughts on “Looking Up Is Where It’s At: A Springtime Story

  1. Alyson May 21, 2021 / 3:40 pm

    My husband always tells me to look up – We miss half of what is out there because we keep looking squarely ahead. Great pictures.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 21, 2021 / 9:05 pm

      Hi. Since publishing this piece, I’ve been looking up thru tree branches quite a bit during my walks. I like those views!


  2. stargazer May 21, 2021 / 5:19 pm

    Lovely photos! I hope, I won’t get a call from Mrs. Else though. She does sound rather strict! 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  3. carolinehelbig May 23, 2021 / 2:27 pm

    You nailed your spring-related post, Neil. Keep walking and taking those lovely photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rkrontheroad May 24, 2021 / 11:25 am

    Enjoyed your descriptions as much as the photos. Things are truly looking up! I also enjoy your cast of characters, keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Elizabeth M Soltan May 24, 2021 / 3:31 pm

    I always enjoy your “point of view,” whether up, down. or just around your neighborhood!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. JoAnn May 25, 2021 / 7:42 am

    For a while I didn’t have a car. I noticed a lot more specific details in everything when walking or riding the bus. Not that I would give up my car but your post reminds me that I need to do more walking and observing. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. jryb29 May 25, 2021 / 12:02 pm

    I love what you’ve written and the pictures are so beautiful! 💚

    Liked by 3 people

  8. selizabryangmailcom May 28, 2021 / 12:54 pm

    Your photos spur hope forward faster.
    Hubby and I have been saying for half a year we’re going to take more walks. You put us to shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 28, 2021 / 2:44 pm

      Greetings, Stacey. Walking sometimes seems like a chore to me. I’m a little surprised that I’ve stuck with it for as long as I have.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. alhenry May 31, 2021 / 12:30 pm

    Somehow I missed this fine literary effort, Neil, but it’s never too late to look up, and I agree–the profusion of spring flora, especially that of the trunk/branches/leaves variety is DAZZLING. Just when you think one more day of wintry gray will drive you to commit hara-kiri, out pop those pink and white blossoms, and your faith in the universe is restored once more.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. alisendopf July 4, 2021 / 10:00 pm

    You make me laugh! I think I need a CEO like that riding my butt. I’ve been having so much fun in the mountains, that I’ve positively abdicated my blogging responsibilities. Not cool. Not cool. I love your under tree photos. I must dedicate some time to under tree staring.

    Liked by 1 person

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