Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New Life, or Just a New Leaf?

"Life. Don't talk to me about Life." - Marvin
from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams.

The Round Robin Photo Challenge topic this time, as suggested by Sassy of Sassy's EYE, is "New Life." Because of this, the following has been playing in my head all night:

From Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle:

TOWNSPEOPLE: Hoping for an answer...
CORA: New life.
TOWNSPEOPLE: New life...
CORA: True happiness.
TOWNSPEOPLE: True happiness...
CORA: Come.
PILGRIMS (Murmuring): Help.
CORA: Come and take the water for a modest fee. /Come and take the waters and feel new.
PILGRIMS: Feel new...
CORA: Come and take the waters and with luck you'll be / Anything whatever except you.
PILGRIMS (Murmuring): Comfort.
TOWNSPEOPLE: Come and take the waters with humility. / Come and take the waters and feel new.
CORA: Come and take the waters and with luck you'll be / Happy and successful!
PILGRIMS AND TOWNSPEOPLE: Happy and successful!
CORA: Liked and loved and beautiful and perfect!
PILGRIMS AND TOWNSPEOPLE: Beautiful and perfect!
CORA: Healthy, rich, handsome, independent, /Wise, adjusted and secure and athletic!

"Cora" in the above is Cora Hoover Hooper, mayoress of "a town so broke only a miracle can save it." A miracle appears (which later turns out to be fake), and she immediately sets out marketing it with wild claims. This egotistical, slightly larcenous character was played by Angela Lansbury back in 1964, and by Madeline Kahn in a charity revival performance in 1995.

What does all this have to do with the Round Robin? Not a lot, except the words "new life" in Sondheim's lyrics. In this case, the words seem to be shorthand for that cliché, "a new lease on life." That's the definition I'm going for tonight. I don't have any pictures of puppies or kittens, baby birds or baby humans to show you. (Update: Don't worry, though. The other Robins have some great ones!) Instead I want to briefly consider the idea of "new life" in something that's already alive.

On with the photos, which for now won't include a picture of my Anyone Can Whistle CD, which is hiding from me. First off, here's a photo from last August. I bought this plant at IKEA in Phoenix shortly before the picture was taken:

The plant sits on a shelf at work, guarded by Zorro and providing shade to Lilo. It had a torn leaf before it even left the store, and by mid-September I'd nearly killed it by not watering it for a week over Labor Day. For a while it was down to five leaves, as the drier, pinker leaves died off. But look at it now:

It doesn't have much pink left, or even as much of the pale yellow as it had originally. Still, I haven't managed to kill it. Far from it. Look closer:

That second generation of four leaves atop the older ones has been there for a while now. But the stuff in the middle - that's new (life):

Okay, maybe it's not new life, but it's at least a new leaf. Two new leaves, in fact, which prove the renewed vitality of the plant. And what's that other cliché, the one about turning over a new leaf? What's that all about?

No, really. What is that all about?

Well, it turns out it's not about leaves on plants. According to, it refers to a "leaf" (meaning page) in a book. So turning over a new leaf means turning to a new, fresh page in the book of your life, and doing something new and different and better. Well, I don't know about better, but I did turn a new literal page yesterday, to write a little bit of the new book. That should count for something. It brings my characters back to life for another round of adventures.

As for me personally having new life, either as renewed vitality or a new page of new directions and a reformed character, don't get your hopes up. The only renewal is of the edema. Since I switched to a stronger diuretic on doctor's orders, and even doubled the dose, my feet and legs have been steadily swelling. Don't be alarmed, but I can feel the top of my feet flap as I walk. Today was the day I gave up trying to find a pair of socks I could get into. I'm supposed to add the old medication to the new one, which I'll do starting tomorrow. (Update: I picked up the prescription. I think it's helping already.)

And this is the time of year for that turning over a new leaf stuff. Lent is about repentence and amendment of life, in preparation for the new life of Easter. Until I changed it last night, the schedule page of our church web site had a slogan from the church bulletin, "Lent is a time for growth." I guess I was supposed to grow that new leaf. I tried, really I did, but it didn't happen. I'm pretty much the same fat, sedentary, sleep-deprived person I was when Lent began. Depressing, ain't it? (Update: As another Robin has observed today, new life takes a lot of work!)

Well, it's not over yet. I've gotten eight sermons added to the Sermons page in the last couple of days. Two more and I'll be all caught up. And I posted a second new entry on the SMAAARTS blog, as promised. I guess it brings a bit of new life to the church web site, and maybe even a little new life to me. And I'm going to bed. Now.

As for the rest, well, we'll see what Easter brings.


Now go see what everyone else is doing for this challenge!

Linking List
as of Wednesday, April 12th, 10:41 PM MST

Sassy... Sassy's EYE Posted

Karen... Outpost Mâvarin POSTED

Carly... Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly POSTED

Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED

Erika... Photographs Of My Soul POSTED

Sara... Animated Seasons POSTED

Kimberleigh... I Shaved My Legs For This? POSTED

Pat... Here, There and Everywhere 2nd Edition POSTED
and Here,There, and Everywhere POSTED

Valorie... Keeping Our Human Mother On Her Toes
and Retrospect USA POSTED

Patrick... Patrick's Portfolio POSTED

Derek... Derek's Picture Of The Day
and Through My Eyes

Tess... First Digital Photos POSTED

Tammy... The Daily Warrior POSTED

Phinney... Paragon POSTED

Celeste... My Day And Thoughts POSTED
and My Day, My Thoughts POSTED

Jessica... QuickSilver Dreams POSTED

Steven... (sometimes)photoblog POSTED

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DesLily said...

my round robin is posted..

the swollen legs and feet can't be good.. can't the doctors get it figured out ??

tess said...

Wonderful insight to the new side. And Zorro rides again!

Celeste said...

I love new life!

julie said...

Great entry as usual. You always get me thinking!

Tammy said...

Turning over a new leaf was perfect for this topic. Easter was perfect timing for your challenge topic too. Happy Easter!

God Bless

Redbird said...

Yes, I like that ... Turning over a new leaf ... GO LILO ! ! ! Nice job!

Patrick said...

Love the pictures and the message. There is something about seeing nature continue to grow that inspires hope. Maybe it's because we do so many bad things to the planet that seeing something continue to thrive makes us feel as if Mother Earth isn't quite ready to abandon us, yet. :)