Archive for the 'Passing Thoughts' Category

When Is It Enough?

December 10th, 2008

Working on a few projects and finding it a little difficult to summon creative energy this week.  Maybe it’s the confluence of the holidays, school and everything that comes along with it.   The young one is home sick today.  I’m a little sick today as well, but not quite for the same reasons.  I must apologize in advance- this post is a little bit of a downer.   So instead of my usually sincere look at the wonderful world we live in, I will share a few thoughts about recent events in the mid-section of the nation this week.

It has something to do with reading about people who break the great trust placed in them to fulfill positions of leadership and service.  I’ve made it a point to avoid political discussion on the site thus far, but I have to say the news of corruption in the state adjoining ours is just, well… so disappointing.  Not that it should be news perhaps, especially in that state, but to read the words of someone who supposedly was elected in the first place to help clean up the vestiges of past corruption- it makes me angry … just sad.

 I don’t even follow politics that much, especially in other states.  After the recent election, I’ve really enjoyed the absence of campaign commercials and political wrangling between candidates.   Even for the most diehard idealists (company I find myself keeping at times), it’s hard not to grow a bit cynical over the years watching the political circus that takes place around the country.  

Yet at some level I would still like to think, or hope, or believe that most of our elected leaders, beyond all the glad-handing, baby-kissing and cocktail parties with lobbyists, will take their jobs- and their charter of service to the people- seriously enough to avoid breaking the law.   Unfortunately, in recent years, or at least by what we read in the news media, it would seem the opposite is closer to the truth.

I mean, come on- when is it enough?  When is the money, the prestige, the circus… when is it all enough?   Apparently that’s a question the Governor of Illinois never really considered before.

Moonlit Dreams

December 3rd, 2008

How often do we really see the moon?  Pieces of it, here and there throughout the year.  Maybe the occasional full moon night, with the landscape painted in shadows?  Magical… at least when I remember to stop and savor such moments.  Tonight was more subtle, with the moonlight reflected off the water of the pond.  But it caught me, and there’s something about it, with the wind blowing and the shimmer of light on the water- my thoughts drift far away.  I can almost imagine a warm moonlit beach… 

 Moonlit December Night

…and then I come to my senses- I’m freezing and it’s 24 degrees out here!  

Light and Shadows of Trees

November 26th, 2008

Sometimes the sun and the clouds and the trees and the wind and the water and the shadows and light are just… beautiful.  I was working outside the barn, enjoying the day and busy with my hands and thoughts.  Time for a break and a walk to enjoy some fresh air, watching the sunlight dance on the water.  This isn’t a view that can be seen in the summer.  The leaves are gone from the trees and it’s different now.  Sometimes trees just seem like trees, until we see them in a different light.  And then they come alive, bright and inspiring, or are revealed as shapely shadows.  We get used to things a certain way, and then comes change.  I’m always amazed at what change teaches us.  There’s always another way to see things.  We have much to be thankful for.

 Shadows and Light

Soulful Thoughts

November 13th, 2008

Under covers today, hiding in dark comfort with chills, coughing and aches that came from nowhere.  Emerged briefly, up to shepard the boy upon his goings and comings.  Briefly again, grateful to take soup through the door… that warm elixir that soothes the body when all else cannot.  And then as days like this go, we almost feel human later on.  It’s leaf pile time, and the boy’s spirit is soaring.  I laugh and watch and smile, then helping him rake a bit to make the pile bigger.  He jumps and rolls and shouts with glee, the dogs joining in, and I stagger slowly back toward the house, not so sure about the feeling human part yet. My body hasn’t quite made up its mind.  Ah, but the evening is beautiful, and my soul is alive.

Autumn evening in Missouri, raking leaves

Autumn Change

October 31st, 2008

Beacon of color,
A Maple, standing alone-
Change in the forest.

Maple in Autumn in Missouri

October Rain

October 23rd, 2008

Awoke to a cloudy darkness that gave way to heavy rain this morning.  It will be with us most of the day so the outside projects will wait.  I know it looks so dismal, but for some reason I enjoy rainy days… mostly.  Of course one time we lived near Seattle and had 96 days straight of rain! That’s a bit much.  Missouri rain is often intermittent, heavier and then gone almost as quickly as it comes. But today the storm system will pass slowly.

I think rainy days help provide a reason to relax inside or catch up on things we’ve put off for a while.  Of course it makes travel a mess, and next week we’re due for our first real frost and freeze.  Glad it’s not Halloween today.  I think three out of the last four Halloweens were cold and rainy here.  Hopefully it will be a decent night for the kids next week, and thank goodness it’s on a Friday this year. 

Rainy October day in Missouri

Oh, another bug question to figure out. Beetle Doc are you still around?!  I found this “nest” of some type when cutting up that oak tree the other day.  It’s very fibrous, with a small, dime-sized opening at the top and what appears to be some type of eggs or balls inside.  Is it an insect gall? A spider nest?!  I’m not sure what else it could be, but I laid it aside in the bushes.

Insect nest or gall

We still have a few things to finish up outside on the pre-winter checklist, so this weekend will be a good time for that.  Up until today I’ve been working on so many different projects, but sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to what the Yellow Lab is up to!  I caught him about to go for a swim in the pond a couple days ago.  I forget how much he loves water, and when I’m not looking he goes right in.   That must be his way of telling me we don’t train enough.  He’s two years old now by the way.  I swear he looks right through me…

Yellow Lab in October ready for a swim

Hints of Autumn Color

October 11th, 2008

The green leaves of summer are finally giving way to yellows and reds.  In our area the peak of Autumn color is usually the third or fourth week of October.  It’s such an enchanting time that we often wish it would last longer.  But the next few weeks will be a lot of fun.  I think I see a leaf pile in our future… 

 Early fall color in Missouri

The bees are still hard at work gathering whatever they can.  The roses have come into full bloom once again, and the bees have found their pollen.

 Pink rose and honeybee

And weekends!  It’s not enough that we have work to do outside, here in Missouri football fever has gripped the state as we watch our Mizzou Tigers play.   But that’s not until this evening, so for now it’s time to head outside and get a little more work done.  Have a great weekend.

A New Day, and a Tiger On His Tail

October 8th, 2008

Sometimes the world seems so small, especially when fog blankets the landscape.  At dawn we see the glow of light, and the sun rises, becoming brighter through the gray curtain of cloud.   On days like this the world awakens more slowly, or at least we may feel a closer, measured pace to the presence of life around us.   What does the sunrise represent?  Hope?  A new day, or a new future?

Sunrise through the fog in Missouri

Does it hold meaning for you?  I once read a story that framed the context of challenge by saying,  “In America we get up in the morning, we go to work and we solve our problems.”   And that’s pretty much a testament to action.  So often it’s that first step that is the most difficult.  But as we begin, as we move and as we take steps towards our goals, we are moving every aspect of our lives toward that new day.  With our action, opportunities will come, doors will open and circumstances will gradually shift toward our goals.  We don’t have to solve everything at once, but as we begin everything changes.   And we’ll get there.

Speaking of action, it seems the kitten and the yellow lab have become playmates.  The lab doesn’t quite know what to make of this little ball of energy.  The kitten romps and pounces, darts in and out and generally uses the retriever’s tail as a chew toy.  Instead of a “tiger by the tail,” this dog has a tiger on his tail.

 Kitten playing with Yellow Labrador Retriever

The kitten chomps and wrestles until the lab puts a big ‘ole paw on top of him.  Then a little  “reeoow!” screech and the cat darts away again.  We watch them closely, but he is amazingly restrained to the needle sharp teeth and claws of the kitten.  It will be interesting to see their relationship as they grow older.   When I imagine friendship between dogs and cats, I think of Sparky, no longer with us, as he walked with Justin.

Seasons Ahead

August 25th, 2008

So the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting “above average snowfall for the Greal Lakes and midwest” this winter?  I haven’t read the publication yet, but the news article says they believe much of the nation is in for a long, cold winter with a lot of January and February snowfall.  But not the National Weather Service- they’re predicting a more mild winter.   Either way, as we head through the tail-end of summer, many folks are already planning for the winter season.  

If the cool summer temperatures and moisture indicate anything, then maybe we will see a colder winter here in Missouri.  I was trying to remember some of those rural “signs” that people used to predict the coming season’s weather.   You know, like lots of acorns or nuts on the ground with squirrels running about more than usual?  Do you look for any particular signs in your area?

Of course the woolly worm caterpillar comes to mind, and wouldn’t you know it the town of Banner Elk, North Carolina has a Woolly Worm Festival each year in October.  We’ll have to wait and see what they find out this year.  Maybe the woolly worm will become the “groundhog” of the autumn season!?  

I haven’t seen any woolly worm caterpillars yet (I think it’s too early), but we should compare stripes or something when we find them. Supposedly the predictions of a cold or mild winter are based on the length of the black stripes versus the brown middle stripe.  My reach for a scientific explanation imagines that stripe length has more to do with the species type and growing season length or something.   But hey, I’ve learned never to understimate the mysteries of nature or human intuition!   And if the Farmer’s Almanac is right, getting a little extra firewood cut may be in order.

By the way, we finally picked our little apples.  They were a little chewed up because a squirrel beat us to them. But we sliced them up and tasted our first home-grown apples.  Yum! Maybe next year we’ll have a few more.

Playing Tag in the Woods

August 6th, 2008

We’re still on the road and seeing the marvels of this great nation first hand.  I don’t have time to write much, but will leave you with this picture of the yellow lab and a curious friend one evening.   See you soon!

Yellow Lab and the Deer

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