The Simple Things Count

As I gazed out my office window pondering what best to write in today’s Week-Ender, my initial thoughts swirled with ideas about the upcoming presidential election, the Iran nuclear issue, the economy, the high and rising price of gas …

Then, as depression set in, my gaze focused on what I had been vacantly observing, but not really seeing, outside my window.

There, in the warm afternoon sun, an azalea bush was blooming before my eyes.

First, just one pink bloom in a sea of green leaves caught my attention, closed up tight in a tear-shaped bundle. Then, out of nowhere, other pink bundles began to appear. Soon there were about a half-dozen.

My window had become one of those digital picture frames, where one scene fades and blends into the next in a never-ending procession of scenes.

Bees and birds darted in and out of the picture, some landing on the bush, some circling, some flitting past. A fiery red cardinal lighted on the branch of a budding tree just behind the azalea and started singing his song to his mate.

I watched as the pink bundles of the azalea started to loosen up and unfold, as if they were opening their ears to more clearly hear the cardinal’s song.

When the sun came from behind a cloud in the warm Georgia sky and flooded the whole scene with a soft, spring glow, I had an epiphany.

I suddenly realized my focus for Week-Ender was all wrong.

I was allowing the pressures of the week, of the world, to drive my vision. But I don’t think that’s what Week-Ender is all about.

This blog is supposed to take your mind off all the pressure-cooker issues and allow a few minutes out of your day to realize that in the midst of all the Loud and Obnoxious Manmade Problems (LOMPs) d’jour, there are shining GEMs (Good-Energy Motivators).

The GEMs are all the simpler parts of life that reside in the nooks and crannies where LOMPs can’t go.

LOMPs are big and bulky and clumsy and careen about our lives causing stress and worry and problems.

GEMs, on the other hand, drift like thistledown on a wisp of wind, floating in, lightly avoiding the LOMPs, making themselves visible to us if we can just unfocus from the LOMPs and allow ourselves time to focus on the GEMs.

Think about it, even if you didn’t know what they were, wouldn’t you rather focus on a GEM than a LOMP?

So, henceforth, I promise to try and keep my LOMPs caged up when working on the Week-Ender. By so doing, I hope that I can help you do the same and enable our collective gaze to focus on GEMs.

Actually, I believe that the more you focus on GEMs, the more you will see.

Even as I was writing this, a small finch shot into the center of the azalea bush with straw in his mouth. I swear he was getting ready to start making a nest, and I shifted in my seat to get a better look.

He caught that motion and flitted out of the bush in fear of his life.

I guess I inadvertently, unintentionally, had become a LOMP. Which tells me that GEMs are best enjoyed when left alone in their natural state.

So on this Friday, I endeavor to be less of a LOMP, look for more GEMs and enjoy them to their fullest, and wish the same to PRB readers. By the end of the day we each will probably have collected enough GEMs to take them home and spread the wealth.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, who also served until recently in municipal parks and recreation, lives in Peachtree City, Ga., and can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email