Taking Pause

seeds 112#1In Autumn, the forest does not die

But folds her arms tightly

Embracing a fine satisfaction.

Reflections are brightest then.

When color flashes and fades

In one instant of hurrah.
No regrets.

Life becomes life,

Passing knowledge in subtle shades of gold.

One great pause

To emphasize what matters most.

Timing is everything.
No regrets.

Shining days of resurrection.

A whispered promise

On a chilling wind.

Awkward seedlings will persevere

Built upon your rituals,
your wisdom,
no regrets.

——————–

For my granddaughters.

Monkey Finds His Way

Monkey in Bali, Indonesia

Monkey in Bali, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little monkey got up one morning and decided to only look down from the trees.
It was wonderful!
He noticed that other monkeys lived in his neighborhood, he found a banana that had been overlooked, and he discovered his own shadow. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
The next day, the little monkey decided to only look upward.
It was wonderful!
He saw the clouds and the bluest sky. A flock of birds passed over and his heart felt as though it would burst from the beauty of it all. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
On the very next day, a bit more cautious little monkey, decided to look only behind himself.
It was wonderful!
All the while he walked, he could still see his soft leafy nest. Now, he was sure this was his best decision, yet. It made him feel warm and safe. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him, once again, and smiled gently.

This time, his mother warned him that he must look around to best prevent himself from falling. Little monkey had fun looking around until he noticed ugly, fearful things were in the forest.
This was not so wonderful!
“Mother? I was happier when I looked down and looked back and looked upward. How can you look around and still smile?”
“I have an eye for beauty, a mind that knows discovery and warm memories of safe places, all those things make me smile.”

“I just don’t understand why I must look around when I don’t want to see ugly, fearful things?”

“Because, my dear little monkey, I will not always be near enough to catch you.”

—————————————————
I have no doubt that this story has already been told, in some form or fashion. I am alarmed by what I consider over-protectiveness on the part of  many young parents who want only happy, dreamy feelings filling everything in their children’s environment. Because of that opinion, I wrote this story today, and my words came to me separately from any other sources. 😉

The Heart of Things

seeds 002between

When children don’t like green beans,

I ask them just to taste.

There are so many new things,

So little time to waste.

A new idea’s a wonder.

Embrace it, oh so, much.

The world is ours to play with,

We must reach out and touch.

“Seeing is believing”,

That’s how the saying goes.

Appreciate those pictures from

The part of life that shows.

Give everything a sniff test.

Aromas stir the mind.

 What’s good or may be rotten,

Applies to all you find.

Best of these, you listen.

Collect, then take apart.

Senses are your data bank,

but,

Actions need your heart.

——————————————–

This is my 600th post in my blog.

I wanted it to be special…

Camping Notes 5/6/13

I realized that on Mondays, I am usually overflowing with camp observations. Thought I’d share some, now and then.

It was the first gorgeous weekend of the 2013 season. Temperatures that I would happily keep year round, 70s, by day, and upper 40s, by night.

022

To the right, is our original site which my husband, Ed, had cleared and built. The whole area was thick forest when we began over 15 years ago. This is Ellen and Kory’s place now. (They weren’t here this weekend.)

We have a small Walmart sunken pond which is my first stop every weekend. It provides a wonderful vernal pool for amphibians. The visitors are fewer,so far, and  I have a good theory as to, why?

047

010It has been recently dry and the spotted salamanders and wood frogs migrate farther during rainy weather. Only the green frog “locals” and one mature Red Spotted Newt are currently present. This is a first for my pond. This week promises some rain but I’m afraid that their egg laying, for this year, might be over. 😦

So off to check out my plum blossoms. Last year, I was alarmed by how few honeybees had tended to pollination. This year, I spotted a few but the numbers are still dismal compared to years past. I’m hoping that our chilly Spring has not yet awakened the masses.

honeybee

As the day progresses, I plan my garden. We have suffered for 4 years with a terrible fungus blight. This year, I plan to grow corn and I’ll be trying an above ground method for tomatoes using wooden skids.

045

Ollie, my Jack Russell, is the happiest camper. He’s able to run loose and dig to his heart’s content. He is now 9 years old and requires more breaks in the sun. Of course, he has his own chair.

038057

Ed and I camp in an area that he prepared for our 5th-wheel. It is just below the old homestead and is our little piece of heaven.

062

Ed keeps very busy. He gathers wood and splits it, as well as, maintaining the lawns and building wonderful stone flowerbeds. His four-wheeler has all that he needs. Yes, a rifle and a chainsaw are both necessary here. Actually, Ed had arrived the day before I came. Our gas grill had been knocked from our deck and one (empty) cooler was out in our yard. Our friends, with a game camera, have evidence of a large black bear in our area. Coyotes and a fisher have also been spotted. We leave no food or garbage out to entice them!

055

I was pleased to see the first of Ellen’s tulips open. The daylight hours are shorter in the woods, so our campsite is a bit behind what we have at home.

067

I was also happy to see some forget-me-not seeds had taken where I’d hoped they would fill in on a banking.

018

I never fail to search our piece stone before we leave. It was quarried in Hudson, NY and has many seashell fossils from a time when New York was an ocean floor. I have always loved rocks! I’m thrilled to look for fossils and, sad that so many were ground up, too. I guess I would have never had the chance to find them if that had not happened.

064

So there you have a glimpse of the “good life” I find in the forest. I also had time to read in a lovely shaded area beside my dog.

Further updates will show my flower beds and garden. See you later!

Within Reason 2: A Conservative Opinion

Tulips

Tulips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New England, and anywhere, where the seasons change, is a place which offers a microcosm of life in general. The lessons learned in this climate, are quite valuable to those who recognize them.

Again, my conservative leaning is influenced by Nature. My own opinion of  liberalism is that it is weighed down by a too generous amount of emotion and ,in their extremes, both liberals and conservatives are inhibited by their own opinions that they somehow know exactly what is correct. Knowing everything definitely puts a hitch in the listening and learning and the solving process, no matter who you are.

When we consider a surgeon for a delicate corrective surgery. We do hope that he/she cares about the patient but I would have a great deal more faith in one who was cautious and analytical than one who was moved to tears at the sight of blood or the anticipation of pain. Some people might translate the surgeon’s calm as evidence that he/she didn’t care but calmness and forethought are necessary for success and the assumption that the finely tuned surgeon doesn’t care has no merit. Also, as much as anyone wants the operation to be over and the healing to begin, no individual wants the surgeon rushing through the procedure.

In New England, we learn how quickly change happens. The New England gardener/ farmer has to plan ahead because they’ve suffered every time they have gotten caught up in one season to the point of not preparing for the next.

Do overs just don’t work as well as preplanned, especially in Nature.

I noticed some lovely outdoor tulip pots at a local supermarket, a few days ago. They contained forced tulips for the gardeners who hoped to have a lovely spring garden but did not plant bulbs the previous Fall. I remember the Fall assortment that was passed by while folks were planning for Halloween. Those who did buy the bulbs are now casually passing by those forced tulips with a confidence that their garden has the better chance of success. The people buying up the potted tulips want a tulip garden, just as much, as the bulb planters but the forced tulips are counting on events beyond anyone’s control for their success. The weather must warm, the plants must adapt and the ground must soften. Timing is critical to the success of this year’s tulip garden for the unprepared. I want everyone to have gardening success and I’ll bet the gardeners with the potted tulips will be unhappy if things don’t work out. Personal responsibility is owned by those bulb planters and cry, as the late gardeners may, many won’t understand that they had had other choices.

Wanting success is everyone’s goal but setting ourselves up for success takes a calm, analytical approach and the firm belief that just wanting something does not outweigh the power of figuring out how best to get it.

Random Word Story # 31~ The Prize

Deutsch: Filzhut

Deutsch: Filzhut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

aerodynamic…checker…quests…weeks…icier

Here is my story:

At 23 years old, Martha was growing tired of video quests. She’d spent the last 6 years, huddled in her bedroom with a cramp in her gaming hand. But she knew this wasn’t living. At least, that was what everyone told her. The only, sure thing, was that she hadn’t felt anything but empty, since forever.

On Monday morning, she disconnected her x-box and got out of bed before 7:00 am. She said no online “good-byes” and walked away cold turkey. “Done” , she thought. She had big hopes that her afternoon job, as a checker at the drugstore, would take on new meaning… Her daydreaming might turn to the ordinary and her future companions would, at least, have a heartbeat. Yes, an exciting real quest had just begun!

Over the next few weeks, Martha had terrible moments of withdrawal. As she rode along in her car, the landscape would, on occasion, morph into unnatural colors and appear two-dimensional. Customers would randomly remind her of barbarians she once knew. She caught herself wondering how her gaming friends were getting along and had anyone really missed her? Several times, she plugged the game in, late in the loneliest hours, and sat poised to press the power button. Martha resisted. Her new quest, after all, must have her full attention just like the others.

She had realized in the first day, that she was a “junkie” when her new freedom caused her to enliven senses she had forgotten. A cherry snow cone had tasted icier than she had ever noticed. Martha had also felt weightless out-of-doors. She tilted her head to the sky and embraced a color blue that could not be produced by artificial means. Her campaign caused her to start walking the mile to work.  But, a strong north wind reminded her, humorlessly, that the upright human body was not aerodynamic when, one day, she was swept right off of her feet.

Martha’s quest became less of a struggle over a month. She had secretly hoped for her Prince Charming to appear for the “happily ever after” she felt was due… every quest has a prize. He didn’t. Oh well, she was enjoying a brand new attention to a neat appearance, just the same…no doubt she’d “level up” soon.

But one day, she found herself listening to the lyrics in songs she, had thought, were familiar. Martha would spring out of bed thinking about the new movie she wanted to see and an organizational chart project she’d begun at work. On one of her walks, she’d noticed a library. She had NEVER known it existed. Martha was spending days without a thought of gaming. Her co-workers started begging her to take her break with them, once they found out, that she had an ability to make them laugh. She felt an eagerness that no other quest had ever offered. What a feeling!

Today, her boss offered her a raise and gave her a hug. It was then, in that moment, she realized her quest had no levels. This quest would go on as long as she did. To touch, to taste and to, embrace the little things, was her prize. At least, she was “in the game” every day.

The Whole Picture

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Life is a mystery. ”

I prefer to think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. The gathering of information and ideas for us to fit together, all the while, hoping to “get the picture”.

If you’ve ever made a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, it seems an overwhelming task, at first.

Childhood teaches us to recognize the colors and shapes.

Adolescence is a time when we can start to recognize that flat edges go on the outside… a framing. But still, so very chaotic when we realize how many pieces are left to organize.

Adulthood is the time the sky pieces are bundled and, using the colors and shapes from childhood, we start to build.

As we move along, we make new bundles. Like pieces are organized, by color, giving us a plan and a vision of becoming whole. Then we start to examine the shapes because the shapes, are the true means that, enable us to build.

Colors are the events, both good and unfortunate, that we carry. Shapes are the way we react to and use the events. Learning to live takes practice and how we deal with events,( our scruples, our curiosity and our ability to forgive) give the shapes clarity and makes them interlocking.

Finally, we find that there are few pieces left. The organizing is done and there is an ease with which we build. A life, lived well, is now a beautiful picture. Even if a few pieces have become misshapen or lost, it is a wonder to behold.

Remember to help children to recognize and define. They will need that.

Forgive adolescent disorder and marvel at their framework, instead.

Enjoy the busy, colorful adulthood that you have worked for.

Take time to reminisce with the elderly, there’s much to be learned from people who see the whole picture.

Marriage: Just What’s in the Cards?

A standard deck of 52 playing cards was hanging out on a lovely table in a  worn but comfortable case when a deck of Star Wars collector cards came along. The Star Wars cards were the same size and weight as the playing cards.

“We know you play rummy and it’s a popular game indeed. You get to have a fine cover and are better cared for than we because Star Wars cards are not as popular. Actually, we are just starting to become noticed and desire the same treatment as you. Being kept in a case and played on a felt table is the dream of all cards. It is the best way for cards to be treated.”

The 52 looked at the Star Wars cards. “I had not realized that all cards were not cared for in the same manner. You certainly deserve fine treatment. Come sit beside me. I’d like to help you find a nice case to hold you too.”

The Star Wars cards frowned. “I want to be just like you. Let me slip into your deck and share YOUR case.”

“I don’t understand?” said 52. “If you slip into my deck all the rules will change. I will have to become crowded and the old games, that I love, will take on a new meaning. The new games will take years to develop and we will both lose our original identity.”

“I don’t care. I am as valuable as you and want what you have, NOW. You are so arrogant 52. If you do not give me your comfort, I must assume that you just hate Star Wars cards. I thought you were nice?”

“Please, it is unkind of you to think in order to have a nice case and fine table that you need to take mine. I would be happy to help you establish your own table and I want you to know all the same “card comforts” that I enjoy. But taking mine is not the answer. I’m comfortable with rummy and, in time, you will be comfortable with your own game.”

The Star Wars cards stormed off while calling 52 a prejudiced, selfish deck.

The End

BTW- The Star Wars cards went to court and were awarded occupancy in 52’s case, at least in Massachusetts. Needless to say, 52 decks everywhere are angry and no one is exactly sure how to play rummy in Massachusetts. At the very least, the games are way more complicated now.

Survival: A Balancing Act

The Olympics made me consider the age old formula of having balance in our lives. Even our food choices are best when there is balance. The Olympians were outstanding! Yet, I always wonder about their “inner” health when I realize how much of their existence is focused upon a few days, sometimes seconds, of time.

So, I created a chart of what, I believe, is true of life for human beings. As I was creating the chart, I couldn’t help but think of examples of extremes. As for Olympians, they are dedicated people who make sacrifices that I do not understand but who make me endlessly proud.

First, and foremost, our need is for survival. Whatever we do, survival comes first because everything else simply counts upon it.

There is wealth. I define wealth as anything tangible in excess of what we need to just survive. We all want comforts and wealth is not a bad thing at all. Wealth makes for prosperity and, often, longevity. You may call wealth, “comforts and currency”. Greed is at the center of those who lopsidedly surround themselves in wealth but no one should be ashamed of pursuing wealth. Wealth inspires innovation and progress which, most often, benefit humankind. We can easily name world leaders and professionals who specialize entirely in the pursuit of wealth and they are, in my mind, detrimental to us all.

There is discovery. It could be subtitled adventure. Ah, what would science be without the hunger to discover. Many of our forefathers came to this country from the need to discover. And we continue to question and learn everyday of our lives from the engrained human impulse for discovery. The Olympians fall primarily into the “overindulging in discovery” crowd. Their mission is to discover the limits of the human body and to test its endurance. Although many of them become wealthy, I believe that their excessive commitment belongs to a zeal for personal discovery. On the down side, scientists who ignore the ethics of scientific study are guilty of placing way too many “eggs” in the discovery “basket” and are my example of a dangerous group. I think arrogance is their primary motivation but greed also plays a role.

Finally, there is enlightenment. Religion and philosophy are the tools in this search for answers. Most often religion and philosophy are at the center of what separates us from our id of savagery. Generosity, forgiveness, and introspect all come from our search for enlightenment. When enlightenment outweighs the two previously mentioned needs, we have the jihad. Holy wars even misplace the human need to survive. Suicide bombers seem the best current example of the danger to humankind from weighing too heavily upon enlightenment.

So balance is still the key to the “good life”, and in my estimation, the spread of imbalance is a direct danger to our survival.

Once Pondered

It was summertime.

Season of sounds

Without limits

Daylight, endless hours

Searching and seeing

Breathing and being

curious.

A pond is one universe.

Sodden with life

For children

Frogs tell it best

Not needy

Hiding an option

Temporary adoption

Be gentle.

Understanding our existence.

So very easy

In summer

Solitary inspection

Waters and reflection

living.