Glimmers in the Gloaming

My mood lately is irritable.

Amazon has done something whackadoodle with its search capability, such that if I type “Miss Dramatic” into the box, more often than not, I get glamour beauty products instead of the only book in the whole store with that exact title. They say it’s a known glitch, they’re working on it. I say bad words.

I’m about done with summer, and I can only imagine how the many folks who have weather much worse than mine have been coping. In Maryland, we’ve reached the part of our program where every creature with the ability to sting is determined to do so, from hornets and wasps, to mosquitoes and biting flies. I hates them, I do. I hates them as only somebody spending a fair amount of time at a horse barn can (though I  know the bugs are necessary for life on the planet).

The adult me knows I’m very, very lucky, and my life is awash in blessings. The less philosophical part of me is looking (grumpily) for reasons to smile, and here is a little bit of what I’ve found this week:

In my neighborhood, the roads are all old logging trails dating back to about 1920, when a post-war building boom in Washington, DC, saw a lot of virgin forest harvested from western Maryland. The upshot is, the roads near me are narrow–fourteen-foot right of ways, no shoulder, no berm, no painted lines. (We do have potholes, though.) If you have to pass somebody, you both slow down, you both edge over as far as you dare. You pass, and as you pass, you nod, wave, lift a hand, or otherwise acknowledge your neighbor for putting safety ahead of speed.

I like that little ritual. It’s not taught, except by example, and it has persisted on the back roads since my childhood. It’s the smallest, subtlest example of “Love thy neighbor,” and anybody sharing these twisty little lanes is my neighbor for at least a moment.

I like that my most recent COVID booster–and all my COVID boosters–have been free. Yes, I know, our tax dollars paid for them, but a) the drug was available, and b) all I had to do was ask the nice pharmacist if I could be vaccinated, and within 24 hours, I had another little shot of safety. I’ve scheduled air travel in upcoming months, and this was a box I needed check.

The dahlias are starting. They lurk for much of the growing season, but their turn is coming, and they are spectacular. They give me a lift every year.

A Gentleman Fallen on Hard Times by Grace BurrowesI found a guy willing to deliver a cord of firewood, and it’s sitting in a nice, fragrant heap in my side yard. I got caught with my pants down in terms of firewood last year, and by Christmas (as the single digits were bearing down), there was none to be had for love nor homemade cookies. I managed with what I scavenged from my own property, but I promised myself I would not let that happen again. Promise to myself (and my washing machine plumbing) kept.

These little glimmers of goodness are fortifications against setbacks, summer blues, and a chronic case of the creeping curmudgeons. Have you spotted any glimmers lately? Lord Julian’s first tale–A Gentleman Fallen on Hard Times–starts downloading on the web store this week, so I guess it’s time I started my ARC list for Miss Dashing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

26 comments on “Glimmers in the Gloaming

  1. Yep, I’m with you, Grace. I have had enough of this grossly hot summer. And our summers are only going to get toastier in the future (groans). Whew.
    I’m looking forward to fall. I’m excited to be reading blogs about upcoming squash recipes. And while my life has been a whirlwind lately of some huge changes, life is still pretty darned good.

  2. I am avoiding much of the bad news by immersing myself in the Middle Ages. Specifically, I am binge-reading the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters. I read pretty quickly and don’t watch much TV so read 1-2 books a day. I’m currently on the next to last one, not counting the “prequel,” so will be done by Monday. I’m thinking I’ll have to see if the library has the DVDs of the TV series just to enjoy a little longer. I like reading books set in the past because no matter how bad things seem, I know the world has survived. I cannot say that about the current future (wait, does “current future” make any sense to anyone but me?).
    Here’s to everyone finding their fortifications!

    • Karen H, I have the entire Brother Cadfael series sitting in my Kindle Fire waiting to be read (after I retire). My reading time has been really slim these last few months. I am retiring this year (hopefully) and hope for many happy hours catching up on my reading.

  3. I dislike algorithms that “personalize” my browsing experience more all the time. I never get anything new without really working at it.

    But the glimmer that brightens more every day is school supplies! Number 2 pencils and Pink Pearl erasers, unmarked! Crisp new notebooks and ruled paper! There are a few pre-school teachers I gift a package of paint paper most years, so I look at paint, brushes, scissors…

  4. Creeping curmudgeons, I love that. I’m the opposite, I find the good. Disgusting, I know. I’m very lucky in my abode. I’m in a geographic micro area of boring weather. Whatever is extreme is always north or south of me. We got some smoke from the fires but not like Toronto or even NYC. I’ve spent the summer reading. What a life. Thank you Grace for all your effort to keep my life happy reading.

  5. My tomatoes were late to get planted so now that we are late in the summer, I am enjoying lots of yummy tomatoes (cherry size and large ones since dear husband planted one plant of each type in the one half-whiskey-barrel pot). Before the thunderstorms blew through this week, I felt a bit of a cool breeze as I walked to the mailbox – promise of the eventual autumn. I was blessed to listen to and give a few hugs to my Meals on Wheels people as I made deliveries today. And dear husband’s paycheck went into the bank this afternoon – very good after he was laid off for a few months earlier this year, even if the new job has a very long commute. My daughter just sent me a mini video of 8 month old grandson learning to eat Cheerios. Many good things to be happy about. Thank you for being a part of the happy in my life.

  6. Not sure if this is the right place for it but I would love to receive a copy of the ARC for Miss Dashing. Thanks.

    PS ~ Love, love, love, the first two books of Lord Julian. Can hardly wait till fall to read the third!

  7. Grace, even when you think you’re being grumpy, I love your posts! You know what you are? You’re NORMAL. No one is consistently without a few grumbles, and I, for one, am honored that you share your thoughts with us. All of them.

    I, too, absolutely HATE hot weather. Why anyone would want to live in Florida or Arizona or any other blistering places is beyond me. They are obviously stronger people than me. I live in northeastern Pennsylvania and I thank the weather gods regularly that we are spared the worst of weather’s calamities (hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, etc.). Perhaps not all of them, but most. I say: C’mon fall weather!

  8. It’s 126F with heat advisories ongoing & I am reduced to begging for an ARC of Miss Dashing to give me something to look forward to. Or rain. I’ll take any rain you can waft down here.

  9. Given the current state of news reports, glimmers of hope are a necessary counterbalance to what can be an overwhelming sense of doom.

    I’ve seen more pollinators and monarch butterflies this summer. I’ve also seen more adults and children riding bikes as a form of transportation. We had rain today; meteorologists are hopeful we’ll have more rain over the week to come. And finally, my husband and I found out we’re going to be grandparents again. All reasons to have hope.

  10. Chicago has had a pretty good summer as early drought conditions have kept a great many nasty bugs away it seems. It also was tough on the fireflies, but there are still quite a few persisting and they are one of my summer favorites. Now we are into humidity which is not so fun…
    I think I love all the seasons which is joyful here after more than 30 years in southern California!
    I am having fun reading A Rogue of Her Own which I missed somehow and its great to be back with the Windhams again. Next comes Lord Julian #2 and I would love an ARC of Miss Dashing if you have enough!
    Seems to me that you have had an extraordinarily productive summer, Grace…

  11. Love Sir Julian! Am looking forward to when he meets Violet… and looking forward to Miss Dashing.
    Also know Amazon’s search engine quirks are affecting more and more things; I was trying to find Mirrix looms and was shown mirrors and mirrors and mirrors…

    • I also found that bug repellent with picardin, which is what Peace Corps sends out with volunteers and employees, works better and smells much better than DEET. I get mine at REI.

  12. Good morning Grace, from Jan, hiding from the last of winter’s cold mornings in Brisbane. My glimmers of spring are from my garden, a source of comfort, sustenance and pleasure, mostly! The jasmine over the fence is a pale pink carpet of beauty, and the perfume gently scents the house. The jonquils are standing at attention, although too slender yet for their flowers. I have enjoyed 5 fresh sugar snaps peas with dinner ( never grown them before). The passionfruit vine I planted a year ago is finally dropping its very late ripe fruit, all the while coping with the voracious possum, who eats every leaf along the top! Vicks Vapour Rub smeared along the fencetop is the only remedy I’ve found so far, but it wears off quickly. Nonetheless, our Southern winter is yielding to the glimmers of Spring and I love it!
    At the moment, I’m revisiting Lydia and Dylan from Miss Dignified. Such good company! I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Mischief in Mayfair series and particularly enjoyed rereading Miss Dignified. Wonderful to see a mature Trevor losing his heart to Lissa.
    Hoping to meet Miss Dashing soon and Lord Julian next week.
    Thank you so much for your magnificent books – love ‘em!
    Warm regards, Jan Cox

  13. I have noticed how bad Amazon’s search engine is – glad they plan to improve it. One thing I dislike about Amazon is how pushy they are about trying to sell you something.

    • And of course I’d love an ARC but it may be a while before I get to it. I am trying to retire – hope to at the end of the year or early next year – but right now things are breaking right and left. (ancient computer software that has decided it needs to retire too) My reading time has practically vanished and I miss it. 🙁

  14. I have been rereading The Lonely Lords series as my July/ August glimmer of hope (on my last one!). I am also feeling great gratitude that even though the engine light has come on 3 times this summer in various cars I have been driving, I have not been endangered by any of them. And I have not been stuck with composting in my car on any of those occasions either! Given the number of trips to drop of food scraps I make, that is somewhat miraculous.

  15. My current happy thought is a baby naming ceremony we attended over the weekend. She was a tiny, sleepy little girl who happily went from one person’s arms to the next. I got to hold her twice, and rock her on the rare occasions when she squeaked. During the ceremony, cradled securely in her father’s arms, she heard the singing and opened her eyes wide, turning to face everyone until the music finished. Each person was invited to express a wish for her; you could feel the love surrounding her from all parts of the room. I bring that image to mind to remind me of what is good and loving in the world.

  16. I also love the acknowledgment waves. Where I grew up in MS, everyone did the “lifting of the index finger” to every car we pass. Just a friendly “hello” to acquaintances and strangers alike. It always made me feel a tiny bit more special, and I hope it did the same for someone else.

    I would love to receive an arc of Miss Dashing, if available. Thank you.

  17. Re dahlias, when I lived on Vancouver Island some years ago, I always bought an annual pass to the stunning Butchart Gardens. One visit I was enjoying the blooming wall of dahlias – little yellow pompoms up to gorgeous scarlet dinner plates – and I stopped to chat with one of the gardeners, who was working in behind the flowers.
    Two young women came up behind me on the path, and I heard one say, “oh! she’s talking to a gardener!”
    A good memory, that it looked like I was having a happy conversation with all the joyful dahlias.
    And yes, I would appreciate another ARC & peek at one of your Misses. They provide moments of joy in the sometimes gray days.

  18. Whoever designs your covers lately deserves a special shout-out. I love the “Miss D” covers. The ladies are each ethereally lovely and the soft colors appealing. I also really like the Lord Julian series covers so far. Very clever to tie the series together with a background of vibrant dark blue, and use objects evocative of that time to intrigue the viewer instead of pictures of “hunks.”

    Also, if there are any left, I would love to have an ARC of Miss Dashing.

  19. I’m envious of the courtesy offered by your Maryland neighbors. Here in my small town (population about 9000) in the Northeast, one of the most common police reports is of mirrors crashing as cars try to pass each other at speed on our narrow roads. Usually as soon as you survive one of those close encounters of the unpleasant kind, you come upon a sign reading “road narrows!” Having grown up in a major metropolis, with neatly marked and organized parallel and perpendicular roads, I have still not adapted to the winding, narrow roads here and the drivers who believe they are in some kind of race.

    Glimmers of hope: we have missed most of the smoke conditions and excessive heat, so summer’s end makes me a little sad. It means closing the pool, and staring at the ugly green cover all winter. Taking down the gazebos, storing the cafe tables and the glider back in the shed always sets off a bit of moodiness. But, on the bright side, September brings us into the “holiday season.” I know I am rushing things, but to my family, the Thanksgiving/Christmas season countdown lasts for months, entailing baking (LOTS of baking), party planning (Friendsgiving anyone?), gift shopping, house decorating (so much fun to see our old familiar decorations, most of which were hand made by various family members—our favorite is a single red pipe cleaner, bent into a candy cane shape…that’s it; no other embellishments). Thinking and planning for the holiday season is what gets me through the last days of summer, knowing it’s all coming to an end. Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  20. I have just read your Blog comments and adore your “little glimmers of goodness as fortifications.” You always have such wonderful turn of phrase in your writings which keeps me as a devoted reader and audiobook listener.
    My husband and I want to thank you for keeping up with your Covid Boosters! You are doing your readers a great service in reminding them to do the same to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors. You are so right that it is free and easy to get. As an immunocompromised patient it means so much to hear you share this reminder.
    Looking forward to your next great book!