Have you ever felt that you’ve come to the end of your proverbial rope? Then maybe you’ll be able to relate. Read on, if you dare . . .Β  it isn’t pretty. πŸ™„


I hope I am not out of line in suggesting that hospitals may not be all that high up on most people’s lists of favorite places to visit. But of course, when that’s where someone you care about is for two weeks, you rearrange your affairs and go to visit anyway, right?

And I have.

Which isn’t always easy (because let’s be honest here) . . .

Which is why . . .

  • when I confided in a different friend that after several hospital visits in as many days, I thought I’d done what I could for the time being and needed to give myself a bit of space to catch my breath and regroup, and
  • when I got the response that perhaps I was being ever so slightly cold-hearted and selfish by saying that,
  • perhaps it didn’t strike exactly the right note.


You go to your corner. I will go to mine. Until I am done defragging, disturb me at your peril.

You’ve been warned.

That was last night.

It was a long night.


I was awake to the opening notes of the robin’s morning prayers.

I got up and made coffee.

And I sat and I drank, and I listened as the morning chorus swelled to greet the rising sun.

My heavy heart, which had beat a message of sorrow-laced resentment until I wanted to open my chest, take it out, and set it gently on a shelf to do its beating away from me for a little while, started to be buoyed up.

And I realized that the biggest reason a well-intended but clumsy comment got me so stony with anger is that at some level, I don’t believe I should possess such a thing as – shame-faced, Lord, oh Lord, do I dare to confess it openly, maybe in the very tiniest of whispers – a limited capacity. Shhhh!

Because if my capacity is limited, it means that sometimes, I’ll have to take care of myself rather than someone else. Eeek!

Needing to do that doesn’t dovetail quite perfectly with the mythologized, nice-girl, “You can count on me” version of my self-image that I really like ever so much better than flawed reality.

What’s more, I was looking for outside validation, outside permission. For someone to say, in effect, “Alright, I guess you’ve done enough to earn a little time to attend to yourself.”

But maybe it’s my job to balance out those aspects of my life. And maybe taking care of myself is more necessity than perk to be earned.

A little something to work on there. (It always seems to hit you just when you think you’re a little further ahead in the game than you really are, right? Sigh.)


So I declare it: My name is Nicole and I am a drop in the sea of humanity. My ability to absorb stress and give support has a limited capacity. Sometimes it’s all used up. And I deserve to give myself the care to respect that fact – before I lose my atomic bonds. And I choose to love myself, limited capacity and all.

Plugging into an energy source greater than myself is one way to recharge.

So, thank you for rising, sun. Thank you for singing, birds.

The Good Book says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Sometimes, it even flies in with new perspective on its wings.

And sometimes, time alone in nature gives you exactly the gentle ministrations that you need to calm down enough to start sorting tangled things out.

Have you ever found comfort you needed in nature?

UPDATE: This week, an article on the role of gardens and nature in health showed up so serendipitously in my newsfeed that I wanted to share it.

Here’s a little quote from the article, “In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical β€˜therapy’ to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.” You can read the full article here.

One friend I sent the link to wrote back to say, “I believe gardening and music and laughter to be tonic for the soul.” So beautifully expressed and I couldn’t agree more! Thank you, M! ❀️

3 Replies to “Simple Pleasures: Early Morning Birdsong

  1. Disclaimers, in the interest of fairness:

    1. This describes one perspective during one instance of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

    2. Nobody is at their best when they’re stressed and I don’t have a corner on the world’s stress market. πŸ˜‰

  2. Yikes!
    Why are we so good at beating ourselves up even when we know that our capacity for supporting others is limited by our own fragility?
    How wonderful it is to immerse ourselves in nature and let healing sooth the troubled heart. Tu es aime, Nikki.

    1. I can’t say I know – we sincerely want to be better – more giving, more capable – than we actually are quite yet? And then we run into frustration and the Inner Critic throws a party? Whatever the reason or reasons, I sure was (and am) grateful for nature’s soothing presence that (and every) day. Just what the doctor ordered… ❀️

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