This is a time for personal reflection or as my mom would say, a time for contemplation.  I’ve been reflecting on the past lately for inspiration. Mostly about my grandparents as they lived through the Spanish influenza and WWI then the Depression Era and WWII.  I would ask my grandma about those days as we sat together in her living room.  She would share many stories with me. My mom as a young girl during WWII built a Victory Garden along with her classmates. They collected aluminum foil, paper drives, and so much more to help the cause.  Of course these were stories, that at the time I was being told, I had no comprehension as to the personal struggles they endured and how they were able to persevere through and overcome the hardships. All the stronger for it.

When I walk the Lake Huron shoreline and the trails, especially now, I feel calmed by nature. It happened to be April 1 and the words that came into my head that morning were “Rise up”.  I felt empowered.  Maybe I just didn’t notice it before, but this particular morning I began to see the debris that washed ashore; the number of plastic pieces, parts of aluminum cans, and spent helium balloons that blew in from the north.  Right then and there, I decided to head home, pick up a bag and march down the beach to start picking up the debris. With my two trustee canine companions by my side, we set off.

Later that day, I began to think about my mom’s Victory Garden.  Then I remembered the recent Facebook post by Ginger Prichard, branch manager of the Millersburg Library.  She had posted an idea about using wooden pallets as a frame for growing a vegetable garden.  What a concept!  The previous season, I had scrounged up two wooden pallets wondering how I would ever use them.  That’s one thing about living near the beach, one tends to take walks after a storm surge to discover interesting driftwood and items that have washed ashore that could be recycled or re-purposed.  So, I re-purposed the wooden pallets and placed them in my yard for the coming days when I can start my vegetable garden.

One might say, through contemplation and reflection there is inspiration. We can set our minds and hearts to do positive things that make a difference even if that difference is in our own backyard.

Anne Marlowe Belanger


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this blog, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Michigan Humanities.