My Dad, Who Made the World Better, Take 3

Tomorrow, Feb. 2, used to be just Groundhog Day to me. Once I keyed into the seasonal festival days celebrated in ancient times, I knew Feb. 2 as Imbolc—a day to take a walk and look for the first signs of spring.

But now it’s forever associated with my dad, who left this world on Feb. 2, 2012. On that day the snowdrops bloomed and the sandhill cranes flew low. I like to think that his spirit took stock of those harbingers of spring—and that they released him to fly away.

It broke Dad’s heart to leave us, and he hated to leave all his wonderful volunteer work behind. Since his retirement he’d launched all kinds of projects. Possibly the hardest thing to give up was his connection with schoolchildren.

You can't see Dad but you can see how the kids looked at him.

You can’t see Dad but you can see how the kids looked at him.

It all started when he began tending the grounds of Cold Spring School, the environmental education magnet, just because it looked like somebody ought to.

Dad doing what came naturally.

Dad doing what came naturally.

Because he took an interest, he eventually found himself in stewardship of the school’s greenhouse. This was a dream come true for him. (I remember many times in my childhood, he would talk about his dream of putting up a greenhouse.) His passion made it easy to engage the classes who came in for units on seeds, soil, and other such things.

Dad showing grade schoolers the wonders of aloe in the greenhouse.

Dad showing grade schoolers the wonders of aloe in the greenhouse.

After he got sick, when confronted with kudos for his volunteering, Dad liked to say, “I was just having fun.”

Having fun on a wet day at Cold Spring School.

Having fun on a wet day at Cold Spring School.

Just looking at these photos again, I’m swamped with sadness.

No one can fill the void he left. But maybe by having our own brand of fun, we can each take up a tiny spot of it. As the days get imperceptibly longer, what can we bring to the earth, to each other?

Photos courtesy of Friends of Cold Spring School.

6 thoughts on “My Dad, Who Made the World Better, Take 3

  1. Aw, Shawndra. My heart is with you. So wonderful to see this lovely tribute and yes, those children looked up to him. I’m sure he’s made a difference in many of them that will carry on throughout their lives.
    There is sadness in loss. But the happy memories sure help ease that pain. Celebrate him in your heart… he’s with you forever.

  2. I wish I’d known him. It is people like him who make a big difference in this world- the children he impacted will carry that with them always.

  3. Pingback: A Remedy for Nature Deficit Disorder | Shawndra Miller

  4. Pingback: A Remedy for Nature Deficit Disorder | VantageWire

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