Planting Hope
Sentimental Gentle Winds: A Riff on Time

Here We Are Again

. . . another Monday morning. Time to . . . 


On Mondays I share a few tidbits and miscellaneous things I discovered over the weekend. A little of this, some of that. Things to amuse, amaze, entertain, or inform. Maybe even something to rev you up!

So. Let's get to it.


"It will not always be summer; build barns."
        --- Hesiod


Wonder who Hesiod is? I did. He was an ancient Greek poet, active around the same time as Homer. (I've taken to Googling any quote authors I don't already know. Just to check. Y'know. To make sure they're not creepy.)

(And why does this quote resonate with me? Well. Because this week, I've been fixated on . . . preparing myself. For fall. For an election that goes to shit. For hunkering down in my house for another several months. Y'know. That.)



Was last week . . . really hard for you? It was for me. And for most of the people I talked to last week. Things just seemed to reach a kind of breaking point for many of us. The All Of It became the Too Much Of It. 

I read this article about our now-depleted "surge capacity" that might just explain some of what's happening to us. (Fireworks spelling out a certain person's name on the White House lawn probably has something to do with it, too, I realize.)


"Surge capacity" is defined as a "collection of adaptive systems -- mental and physical -- that humans draw on for short-term survival in actutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters." The article then goes on to explain that the pandemic is not a natural disaster, which tend to play out over short - but intense - periods of time. Pandemics, by contrast, stretch out over a long period of time. With no known end-point. Thus . . . we deplete our surge capacity.

It's a really good article, and I recommend taking the time to read it. Especially if you're feeling rather depleted right about now.



If you like to read, September is always a great month. Many of the year's most-anticipated book releases happen in September (y'know . . . to maximize that pre-holiday "buzz"), and there is much action on the book awards scene, too. 

Here are some links to help you follow the "hot books" as they're released this month (and pad your to-read lists, as well).

From the New York Times: 15 Books to Watch for in September

From Book Marks: The Best Reviewed Books of the Week (August 28)

And if you like audiobooks, here's a list from AudioFile of the best audiobooks (from August) for listening. 

When it comes to book awards, watch for these announcements coming out in September:

The Women's Prize for Fiction winner will be announced September 9. (Go, Hamnet!)

The Booker Prize short list will be announced on September 15. (You can find the long list here.)

And the National Book Award long list will be announced the very next day, September 16.



Have you been thinking about moving your body more?
Looking to build up your "surge capacity" again?
Wanting to do something just for you?

Well. Now that September is on our doorstep (new month, new season, new chance to begin), maybe you want to try . . . yoga?

I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene (as I've already mentioned in other posts). Her yoga is accessible, not "weird" (and if you've ever experienced a kooky yoga instructor, you'll know exactly what I mean), and very . . . habit-forming. She has an incredible catalog of classes available on YouTube, so whether you're looking for a gentle stretch or an energetic flow you'll find a class that suits you. She offers many series of classes -- including for those just looking to begin a yoga practice. Best of all, she offers these classes . . . free. (There is also a membership version available with even more classes.)

Each month, Adriene curates her classes around a theme, and publishes an interactive calendar (load the PDF file calendar on your  your computer or device, and then click through to each daily workout all month long). The September theme? BUILD. As she says in her latest newsletter . . . "Build new systems and rituals that serve. Build awareness. Build up stamina. Build relationships. Build coonfidence. Re-build up your well of self love and pour, generously."

Maybe some yoga . . . is just what you need! (Click here for the September calendar.)


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Looking for something fun in your Instagram feed? Check out @blcksmth for inspiration, color, and a smile!


And . . . that's it for me on this Monday morning.

Here's to a good week for all of us.
(We'll get through this.)
Let's build our "surge capacity" . . . together!




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I am 5 days into my revived yoga practice and ready to build! And today there is a nip in the air, fall is coming.


I've started thinking of ways to cope with the cabin fever that is bound to hit when the weather turns ugly. Where we used to go walk around the mall a few times, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that this year (and we quit the gym for the same ol' Covid-19 reason). Maybe that Yoga with Adrienne will help. Couldn't hurt, right?

I think you hit the nail on the head with the surge capacity. Not knowing WHEN we will get back to a level of normal we can feel good about really stresses the mind AND the body. Running on an elevated level of adrenaline surely cannot be good for us and 2020 is sure trying it's best to keep the adrenaline pumping.

I did not know about the TRUMP fireworks ...............good God! Could his ego get ANY BIGGER? (I did not make it through his whole speech. I had to turn it off about 1/2 way through.)


That surge capacity article hit the nail on the head for me. Reading the line "when you’re faced with a problem that has no solution" opened my eyes that many of the things contributing to that daily gnawing feeling inside of me aren't things I can fix. I can help and hope, but beyond that there really is no fix. So I'm going to build my resilience bank account and looking through all these book lists is a great start!

Kim Sheehan

I just wrote this morning that I need to start up yoga again as soon as my rib heals. I'll look for Adriene's videos--I use Lindsey Samper on Amazon and she's not kooky but she's borderline kooky.


I’m a huge Adrienne fan... the other day I was doing ‘yoga for a bad mood’ with her—Yes, depleted here—and Troy walked in and said, ‘Is THIS the Adriene I head so much about?’ My oldest daughter and I chat about her as though she’s a family friend :)


Thank you for the article link! Last week was tough and now I know why.


Adrienne started my year of great with her challenge of doing yoga every day in January. I'm drawing on the things I learned during that time a lot right now. Hooray for award winning books! And I'm excited to read that article about the importance of recognizing why we need replenishment and how it's something everyone can benefit from.

kathy b

I will make time to read the article. It must be good if you've shared it. Nothing to do with the pandemic, but I was really down today. Some finalities with my father's death. Some family members are so selfish. Sigh. Also a bike ride that I really just wanted to be over with , from the first pedal. I got up on the WRONG side of the bed. I 'll read your advice article nOw


I love that quote of Hesiod's. So practical! And we all certainly have more than enough opportunity these days to build our own "barn." I got to meet some Carmelite nuns once. (They had a special dispensation for one day to talk.) Their whole lives were one long pandemic of confinement and total silence. But they were happy people! I think of cloistered orders (voluntary) and prisoners of war (involuntary), and the like, a lot these days. What helped them survive and even thrive? Maybe partly because they learned to build that barn, giving them a sense of purpose, hope and reason for celebration (barn-raising?) and a necessity to live in the Now. Such a good quote, Kym! Like a mantra. (And personally what keeps me going are long morning walks and short-term goals that I would not have time to address in my old, much busier life. Also, laugh a lot and watch old movies.). Sorry this is so long. I think there is a potential for a book in all of us!


Thanks for ALL the book lists Kym! Something ought to strike my fancy and get me out of my slump (which has been going on for way too long). Love the quote from Hesoid. Build a Barn indeed!!


Thank you, Kym - great article ... and you know, it makes me feel better to know I'm in such good company with being surged out! Modern Mrs Darcy has a fall unboxing event today - sharing her 42 favorite books coming out this fall - I can't wait to watch! (Louise Penny and Alice Hoffman are my two must-reads so far.)


Ugh, last week was hard. I am really trying my best to be hopeful about the election, but I can't help remembering what happened last time around and I am worried. I think starting yoga now is probably a good idea. (And I know just what you mean about "kooky" -- I had an instructor one time who told us to get into "a really yummy position." What now?)

Margene Smith

Yesterday I told a friend to look at her life, a beautiful life she's built and how safe and good it is. Stop looking at the news and live life now. She said it was a good point and that she needed to concentrate on her own now, not the what ifs of the (possible) future or of doom. You have some wonderful ideas in this post on how to do that. I love the book part of this post (as you know). We need that zoomchat to catch up on our favorites of the year. I would be happy with three of the books up for the Women's prize. Just don't let it be Mantel.

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