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The Fog of Life

October 4th, 2007

The early morning was very beautiful yesterday with a gentle fog hugging the landscape.  The young boy wanted to “go find the fog” and touch it as we waited for the bus.  He ran down the driveway trying to find the place where the fog began.  And he finally stopped, walking back slowly, saying he couldn’t find it because when he got there it was gone. 

Fog surrounds the landscape at dawn

Isn’t life kind of like that sometimes?  We think we see or want many things in our lives, yet sometimes when we get there, it’s not quite the same as we thought.  Sometimes what we thought we really wanted isn’t even there, but rather it was the journey we took along the way that really mattered.   




This Moment

August 21st, 2007

It seems that many communities received far too much rain this week, and I feel for those whose homes, communities and lives have been changed by it.  Nature is so unpredictable, it makes you wonder where we fit in the scheme of things at times.  We go about our lives in a quiet and insulated perspective that exists around that which we know and are aware of. 

And yet in so many places, not so far away, there are people struggling with the world in which they live.  What can we do?  What should we do?  Perhaps our goals for contributing to charitable causes helps in some small way to alleviate the challenges that others face.  Some admirably choose to become involved personally in order to “make a difference.” 

Of course doing so takes nothing away from those who choose a different path for themselves.  In so many ways we are all “one” and part of the same whole on this great planet Earth.  When I really think about it, I wonder if the best thing I can do is simply to be the best person I can individually, and within the local family and community. 

I have to believe that the example and strength of that which we are in our own lives must relate exponentially throughout our existence, and that of others.  Change comes slowly for some, and seemingly not at all for others, but still it comes… often thrust upon us when we least expect it. 

I believe change can be embraced both as a frame of mind and an attitude serving in part as a foundation for the choices we make in our lives.  Small steps, choices and actions can lead to profound results over time.  We awake in the morning with a day full of opportunity… a blank page to be written upon by our thoughts and deeds.  Each new day, every morning we awake is full of promise.  It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes…

“The past is history, the future is a mystery, and this moment is a gift. 

That is why this moment is called ‘the present’.”

                                                                                                                                    Deepak Chopra

Summer dawn in August a new day!

 

Light and Uncertainty

July 25th, 2007

Often a picture can evoke feelings and thoughts that are hard to describe.  We may simply like a picture, or landscape for the value it presents in the moment.  Taken together, those moments coalesce to form the memories we choose to retain through our lives.  And sometimes we can’t help it, so strong are the feelings and emotions that we attach to our experience.

Life is like that for me in many areas.  There are moments at various times of the day when a landscape, an enjoyable experience, or simply the quiet beauty that surrounds me brings forth appreciation and a sense of wonder that is almost overpowering.  I spent a good many years away… away from everything at times, and focusing on challenges that the soul wrestled with to understand.   Yet now, I am filled with joy for the love of family, and the freedom to embrace each day.  Sometimes we don’t want our daily experience to end… it’s hard to let go, and we know that change will soon color the spectrum of memories we have shared throughout our lives.  Of course, sometimes we do want to forget however, and it is hard letting go.

We may find ourselves caught up in a moment or period of challenge where it is difficult to appreciate what is positive in our lives. Through it all however, our perspectives and thoughts are but a momentary part of the continuity of our lives, and the world around us… yet those thoughts and perspectives are an essential aspect because of how we constantly experience “us” as we go through life.  God presents so many opportunities, and it’s often difficult to understand how we may live according to His ways.  So we press on, and shape the direction of our life through those thoughts and perspectives, and the choices we make. Gaining a sense of detachment, perhaps a wider perspective, is important at times because it allows us to be open to new possibilities and growth.  Fear and uncertainty can often cloud one’s ability to maintain this sense of being… finding the “distance” from a problem to evaluate choices and make positive decisions.  We don’t have to live in fear however, and you can, as someone once told me, “Make uncertainty your friend.”

Light among the darkness

There is always light, hope or possibility to be found if we choose to see it.  We have only to allow ourselves the chance to let go and embrace uncertainty…change… as we grow through life with the knowledge that each moment is new, permanence is fleeting, and our days are filled with change.  And God is with us… always present, and guiding.  I don’t always know how to accept God’s presence  (presents!) in terms of my daily journey, but I think that He wants us to trust, and to embrace the change and uncertainty in our lives.  By doing so, we may reveal experience and opportunity that we have never considered before.  It is there… it is always there!

Simple Joys of Summer

July 16th, 2007

Even the sultry days of summer are brightened by the blooms of petunias.  Ahhh… without water,  where would we be?  A good day today, as it should be- spent walking the banks of a stream in search of something exceptional… something beyond us, something to validate one’s journey.  And spent with another who barely knows the journey has begun, but embraces life with joy for the moment.  And for home, we share in the simple joys of the day.  Perhaps summer is enjoyed most for that… its simplicity.  The petunias offer that, and more.

The vibrant color of summer petunias

A Reflection of Reality

July 15th, 2007

The reflections in the pond never cease to amaze me…  the other morning the pond was still, the air was calm and these trees reflected beautifully in the still waters.  It looks as if the picture is upside down.  Isn’t the world like that really?  So many things are a matter of perspective, and how we choose to look at things.  One day we face the stormy seas, the challenges of life, and it’s hard to look beyond the moment.  But then things settle down, and we look back and realize there is always choice and opportunity… and the ability to see beyond the tempest.  Sometimes, what we see is not really there… perhaps it is simply a reflection.  Or is it the reality we have created for ourselves?  I ask myself that question often, and try to remember that life isn’t any particular thing aside from what we choose to make of it.

 Trees reflected in the pond what is real?

Musings from the Deep

May 1st, 2007

There is something mysterious and “deep” about reflections in water.  Yesterday the evening light reflected quietly in the still pond.  The air was calm at twilight, and the colors within the clouds above spoke of a peaceful, quiet ending to the day. 

But it is more than that… the light and reflection also beckons with promise, of what I do not know. Something more… something waiting, and something that we still must do.  Perhaps many things in life are that way.  At those times I feel a quiet sense of urgency or restlessness for things undone.  And then I try to simply enjoy the moment for what it is. 

The pond at dusk, reflecting the clouds and trees in still waters.

But what is it that moves us forward?  What is it within that drives us to do more, be more, seek more… to shape our lives and futures toward whatever vision we hold, or have held for many years?  Or to simply continue doing what we do… letting go at times, and working to improve our life and the lives of others?  Musings from the deep still waters within, and around us.  I don’t expect answers per se- but the answers will come, and have always come, revealed gently through our lives at moments when we might least expect them.  Sometimes it is hard to listen and acknowledge them.  But they will come.

Many Things

March 7th, 2007

Ah, the  many things we do.  From waking to helping a child get ready for school, the dishes, the animals, the cleaning, the organizing, the planning, the outdoor work, the kids again…  so often it seems it’s a cycle that never ends!    What do you do to keep your focus, and stay “in the game”? 

Sometimes I’m not so sure, yet if I’m tired or restless, or simply not focused…. I just begin.  One of the quotes I like is by Rev. Robert Schuller that says, “Beginning is half done!”  I think that’s true…  once we simply begin and start in with something, pretty soon we are moving ahead.  We may move on to other things, or notice something needs attention that we had not thought of previously.   Somehow the application of our energy and focus allows us to do what needs done, even if just a little at a time.  Nothing really magical, but it works! 

Purple Dutch Tulips

I think I suffer from too large an awareness of what “needs done” however… and sometimes that can seem overwhelming.  So again, I just start in with something and usually find that the little pieces of a project can organize themselves along the way, as long as I’m participating in the process.  And with progress, however small, we find success.  I wonder if it is only humans who have thoughts that speak of self-indulgence… lamenting our weaknesses, praising our strengths and success.  The dogs, cats, birds, fish… even the plants and flowers just… are.  They live, grow, explore and express the individuality of their “being” within the environment in which they exist, not asking for much beyond the basics of life.  But what a gift they are!  

I did see the Phoebe has arrived with the coming of Spring.  I chased a few geese from the pond this morning as the countless birds called to the rising sun.  I get to visit with a few kindergartner’s this morning and facilitate reading.  That is a humbling experience by the way, to see a young child struggling to learn to read, trying hard to do something they know so little about.   But once they begin, they find joy in the small victories of each word and sentence.  Maybe I should remember that… :)  Here’s some more “hydroponic tulips” to begin the day.

Cardinal in the House!

March 5th, 2007

Well… I almost titled this one Cardinal Craziness, to keep the theme going from my other post Nuthatch Nuttiness…  Yep… similar story yesterday.  I was summoned by my wife after she heard a loud “thump!” at one of the porch windows.  Sure enough, a Cardinal was lying outside on the ground looking quite disheveled. 

It was a chilly day yesterday, so I went out and picked him up… the bright red of the male Northern Cardinal is unmistakable.  The little guy’s eyes were half closed and he was “gurgling” while trying to breathe.  I brought him inside, and we noticed he was bleeding from the mouth, er ‘beak’ I mean.  I don’t know how to help a bird with internal injuries, but since I noticed his mouth was full of blood my Red Cross training kicked in regarding airway obstructions… So I held him upside down while some blood ran out his beak.  “Lovely…” I can hear you thinking… yes, but not much else to do. 

So I carried him around, and was sure he would pass on any minute in my hands with such labored breathing.  If the cats had been outside he would have been a goner for sure.  He was still breathing after about 15 minutes, so thinking that he had a chance, I knew the best thing would be to keep him warm and in a quiet place.  Back into the Rosemary plant he went, just like the Nuthatch!   The young boy so wanted him to live. I tried not to disturb it last night, but noticed that he was still alive when I went to bed.  His eyes were mostly closed, but the breathing a little better. The porch is not heated much, but stays warmer than the outdoors… I think it was in the 40’s F overnight, so I knew he would be better in there than outside. 

When I awoke and got the young one off to school, I thought “There’s something I wanted to do this morning…?”  “Oh yes- the bird!  So with the sun fully up, I went into the porch to find a chipper young Cardinal hopping about the plants and furniture giving a loud “schiip! schiip!” at me.  “Wow!” I thought, “you’ve really perked up!” 

 Male Cardinal after a night recuperating inside

Then the fun began as I tried to catch him, and he darted in and out of the plants, flying to the windows.  I got my son’s butterfly net and finally trapped him gently.  He looked good except where he banged the window the day before… ruffled feathers and a half-closed eye on the left side.  I bet his neck was sore!   But I knew he could fly then and had a chance at life- wild animals cannot really survive in captivity. 

Some have wondered how one can be a hunter, and care for wildlife and nature at the same time.  For me it is all part of the grand pace of life, and I see no incongruence with hunting and eating animals, as well as caring for them.  Hunters do not hunt simply to ‘kill’ animals, at least none that I have ever known… hunting is so much more.  Fishing equally so… there is a bond with nature and the outdoors, a temporal connection with the seasons, and a human validation for our being and sharing the harvest.  Perhaps I’ll write more one day. 

Back to the Cardinal… out we went, and as I opened the net and picked him up he flew into a Redbud tree about 50 yards away.  He sat composing himself for a good half-hour, and then when I looked again he was gone.  He has a good start… the young one will be excited when I tell him the Cardinal is flying free once again!

 Farewell my red-crested friend!

Cardinal far off in Redbud Tree

One would think I spend all my time taking pictures, watching birds and other assorted nature stuff.  I sure enjoy it, but these are just the small moments between the larger focus of each day.  But the small moments are so important!  If we don’t take some time for them, don’t we then lose ourselves among the noise of everything else?   But most of my time revolves around the endless stuff we all must do, and helping keep our personal and financial lives together.  I finished a final for one of my classes, thank goodness, and now can concentrate on the other.  I should tell you about last week, with the cats in the attic…. well, we don’t really have an attic, but we do have a backwards weather vane!  Long story…  But the boy is doing great with his swimming lessons, and started a class in Tae Kwon Do… life marches on.

On Life and Goldfish

January 7th, 2007

Not all the natural life at Fox Haven is outdoors. On the wet winter days one makes time for catching up inside. Sometimes we always seem to be catching up with ourselves. And with the “catching up” there always seems to be more to do. Sometimes, we have a glimpse that things will not always be the way they are today. In the hustle and bustle of our lives we may see, if we are lucky, a glimpse that accepts the present for what it is, with the knowledge that today will be part of our collective memories.

Like so much here at Fox Haven, our memories provide both context and clarity for our life today. We may choose to see today for what it is- a day of simple moments that we share, and remember once again in the years ahead. I see the Fantail Goldfish in the aquarium… a Christmas present some three years ago. One of a few goldfish purchased for a small child who awoke running down the hall, yelling with joy in his voice that “Santa brought me fish!” Two of those goldfish still thrive. The fantail- “Blankie” (fondly named by the little boy because the fish looked like one of his fuzzy blankets), has grown from 1 1/2 inches to almost 7 inches in just a few years.

Records show that goldfish can routinely live more than 10-20 years with proper care, and the oldest known goldfish lived for 43 years! (Its name was Tish by the way). Hmmm… at this rate, Blankie may well be around long after I’m gone! But this tranquil, colorful goldfish represents a part of our lives, and memories. With luck, it will still be here in the years ahead. Yet the young boy will be older, and Fox Haven quieter still.

'Blankie' - Fantail Goldfish

Reflections…

January 3rd, 2007

 An interesting topic in that I spend a great deal of time reflecting on the nature of things… and often reflecting on the reflections in the pond!  So perhaps this category is titled “Reflections” not only for the beauty we see each day, but also for the meaning it presents in our lives… reflections of who we are, how we came to be in this ‘place’, and where we are headed on this grand adventure.

At Fox Haven it is winter yet, and for these months I have the opportunity to continue learning… but the daylight now lengthens, both too quickly as we enjoy the respite, and later- not quickly enough as we yearn for spring and warmth to touch the earth with the tools and engines of our human labor.  I see less sleep in my future… :)  Here are some Reflections from yesterday…

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