Archive for the 'Reflections' Category

Rocky Reflections

June 3rd, 2010

There are many things I’d like to share in pictures and words…  Honestly I don’t know how some of you do it, but I really enjoy reading the stories that my fellow bloggers write. Everything from adventures with family and home, to writings about nature and our place in the world.   

At some point however, some of us find ourselves wondering if we should continue, or what we are writing for in the first place. Personally I started Fox Haven Journal as a place to simply reflect on the sights and sounds of nature and our lives on this small piece of land.

I have begun to consider other aspects however, like expanding my focus to include life stories and family memories. I see it as a place with potential… maybe even remote anthropological relevance, where rather than picking through my trash, someone may actually learn something about this life long after I’m gone. At some point, I will fill the pages to my satisfaction and move on. I’m not there yet however, so you’ll have to put up with me for a while still.

However it looks as though one of our friends has recently done just that, bringing his current blogging journey to a close.  Pablo’s writings at Roundrock Journal appear complete, although it came as quite a surprise to many of us.   Pablo has always had a way of teasing his readers, and infusing his love for the natural world with questions, curiousity and innuendo.  Through his daily writings he shared his insights and pictures about his beloved land in Missouri, and the unique round rocks that were part of the mystique and beauty of his refuge.  

He brought us along on his journeys and reflections, and shared a little of both his family and friends, and of his simple pleasure watching the seasons unfold.   Pablo was one of my first visitors to Fox Haven Journal, and encouraged me to continue writing when it seemed silly sometimes to share my thoughts about the mundane, or trivial…  even though to me they were not. 

Over time I have recognized that it isn’t so much what we are writing about, but rather sharing a little of who we are, and how we see the world around us.  I think that’s what I enjoy about visiting other blogs as well…  and like Pablo, I count so many of you as friends.

Over the last few weeks he shared a wider perspective of Roundrock and his writings with his readers, bringing things slowly to close even as most of us didn’t recognize it until afterwards.  Pablo had written just about every day for nearly five years (a feat unto itself) while sharing his world with his readers.  Thus it was quite strange a couple of weeks ago when his writings simply stopped. 

Many folks wondered, and then with a little more careful reading (especially post titles), we realized that he was completing his work, quietly, without fanfare.

A final post to share with us, ending, but not ending, the story.  Finishing, but leaving the finish for that enduring vision of another day.   Thanks Pablo- we’ve enjoyed the journey to Roundrock with you, and wish you all the best.   Perhaps it really is an ending before another beginning.

Our Days Are Worth So Much More

May 26th, 2010

I have been amazed at the season’s changes.   Yesterday I saw a trio of swifts!  Have you ever seen these fleeting, amazing birds?  They are usually seen high in the sky, sleek and fast, tiny wings, twittering as they fly by living almost their entire days aloft, returning to earth only to skim across the water or in the evening to roost for the night in chimneys or hollow trees.  Three of them came flying by, just over my head and made several circles throughout the trees chasing each other.   They were gone as quickly as they came. I wanted to join them…

Over the past week I’ve heard whipporwill’s, owls and coyotes at night, while during the day even the bullfrogs have begun calling.  The deep, stuttering and resonant brruo-o-ommm! bro-o-oummm! bro-o-oummm! of the bullfrogs speaks of mid-summer nights.  

We have the heat this week, over 90 in late May, so why not bullfrogs?   With the heat came afternoon clouds, and as I worked late one hot afternoon, dripping wet from digging post holes for the chicken coop run, I caught a glimpse of diffracted rays of the sun over the trees.  I  took a break and ran to the top of the hill for a better view. 

I see the sun and clouds shining beautifully in this way and it reaches to the depths of my soul.  Why is that?  I feel so many things, and among them all…  hope. 

I watched the sun slowly set, and the perspectives of light changed from above to the sides and around through the clouds and sky.    I think how so many people face challenges or difficulty in one way or another.  And yet there is so much more to us and beyond us!   As the sun showers its rays of light across the sky, it seems that we too can transform our own lives in so many glorious ways.  There is always hope, and change.

The past few nights have been magical too-  I wish I could share them in pictures.   Last night was incredible: There were distant thunderstorms with high dark clouds filled with the glow and flash of scattered lightning to the north and west. The clouds would burst from shaded gray and black to bright flashes of yellows and golds,  an incredible show of light, and contrasted with hazy gray clouds and the diffused light of a nearly full moon bright and shining in the southern sky.   

If that wasn’t enough, I could look out across the fields of grass below the horizon and see thousands of twinkling fireflies.   It was all happening at once and I was there, alone, an audience of one to marvel at the majesty of nature at night.

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore;  and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!   But every night comes out with these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

                                                                            Ralph Waldo Emerson


And then the morning.  To wake early enough to see the sun’s rays return across the landscape from the east.   I walk outside to breathe the fresh, cool air and see the world come alive again.    I look up into the trees as the yellow light of the sun colors the bark of their trunks.   It brings each tree alive, and I marvel at seeing things in a new way.    I wonder how old it is?

How many years have passed for this mighty oak tree, and how many birds have graced its branches?  How many leaves have fallen…  Ah, too many questions, without answers that do not matter anyway.   It is simply reaching for something, perhaps a measure of time and a greater perspective with which to compare our life.  The tree itself seems timeless.   Certainly the tree grows and ages in time beyond our own measured lives.   All that we experience, or see, or become a part of…  still the trees may grow, patiently, a witness to generations of people come, and gone.

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.   The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world.” 

                                                                               John Burroughs

Seeing the World in Raindrops and Oceans

April 26th, 2010

If April showers bring May flowers, then we’re going to have a beautiful month coming up.  It has been non-stop rain the past few days.  We sure needed it, but goodness it has just been a bit much.   On the plus side, the garden is really looking great.  On the minus side, the bees haven’t been able to forage for several days and will be going through stored honey like crazy.  I’ll feed them to make sure they have enough, but it’s a tough start for them.  

Everything is dripping from the rain… 

As I bent low to look at raindrops on the tiny seed heads of grass in the yard, I wondered what I might see?

I leaned in closer to look at a drop of rainwater hanging from the top of a seed head of bluegrass…

 In that tiny drop of water I found the reflections of an ash tree, a cherry tree, some pine trees and a fence post on the hillside…

I wonder about the things I miss in this world simply because I do not see them?

I wandered around a bit more, and found the last flowers of the redbud trees gathered on the ground where they fell…

But a few days ago the dogwood trees were blooming still.

A field of dandelion is going to seed, but that’s okay.  The bees just love dandelions.

And so do curious boys…  did you know you can put a dandelion seed head underwater? I didn’t… it traps air bubbles inside.

There is so much to see and do in spring. We have a few sunny days coming up thankfully, and then more rain… the nature of things.

I’m just amazed at how fast the leaves have changed the landscape this spring. 


For a different perspective, we continue to read of Jessica Watson’s journey around the world.  She’s battled quite a few storms recently and huge seas, with her 34 foot sailboat even being knocked down again yesterday while she was catching some sleep.  After spending around seven months at sea, she’s now south of Australia and only has to make her way around Tasmania and up to Sydney to complete her non-stop solo journey within a matter of weeks.  If you’ve read her posts, she has shared much of her challenges and emotions.  It’s difficult to imagine really.

Jessica will become the youngest person in history to sail non-stop around the world.   Really I don’t care how old you are, just the journey is amazing in itself.   You may have read the news that another young sailor, Abbey Sunderland, has struggled on her journey half-way around the world in a 40 foot sailboat, and will not be able to complete a non-stop circumnavigation due to a faulty mechanical auto-pilot system.  She is a bit younger than Jessica, and was bidding for the record. 

With unnecessary dismay, Abbey writes that even though she must stop for repairs, she will continue her journey around the world, perhaps stopping again. It’s hard to imagine sailing around the world at all, let alone worry about whether it’s non-stop or not!   Her older brother Zac made a similar journey at age 17, completing a solo circumnavigation in 2009 in 13 months.  He had to stop for repairs also, finsihing with 13 stops around the world.     

But hey, there’s still hope for the rest of us.  All you need to do is read about Minoru Saito, the 75 year-old Japanese yachtsman who has sailed around the world seven times.  He even completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation at age 71.   Right now he is more than half way around the world… sailing a reverse course against the wind for an 8th circumnavigation attempt which he hopes to finish at age 76.  

From a tiny drop of rain, to a macro view of sailing around the world. It’s amazing how we can shift our focus and our thoughts among things that challenge the imagination at different levels.   Not that those are things we should try, but simply that I think of how we limit ourselves so often, both in perspective and for the things we take for granted each day.  Our lives are so much more… and I think one of the most important lessons I see these adventurers sharing is that we really can do just about anything we put our hearts and minds toward. Have a great week…

Hard Woods in Still Waters

March 31st, 2010


“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”
                                                                                                         – Hans Margolius

And yet what is our perception except for that made real by the changing color and context of our experience?
In a matter of weeks, days really, nothing here will look the same…

Three Cats About

March 28th, 2010

Spotty, our big white and black cat, is becoming quite the little beast.   She’s nice enough around feeding time, but she’s really territorial and tries to boss the other cats around.   She pushes them, growls at them, bumps them out of the way to get their food (even though she has her own), and generally wanders around strutting her generous girth outside of the house.  

“How did she get this way?” I’m thinking.  But it’s just her nature…   The gray Princess, our other outside cat, is sweet yet indifferent for the most part.  And even though Spotty tries to push her around, she’s the “alpha cat” and only tolerates it to a point and then pounces on the younger (but fatter) cat.   

It’s interesting that while Princess is an expert hunter, the big Spotty cat couldn’t catch her tail if it was laying right in front of her!    Apparently she can climb however, and I was surprised to see her on top of the grape arbor.

We also have a (mostly) indoor cat named Tootsie.  Shes a tortoiseshell, and we adopted her on a camping trip from a humane society booth at a craft fair.  She is the most lovable, attention seeking critter I’ve ever known.   It can almost be annoying, but she just likes to be around people (and the yellow lab) and is very careful with her claws.  She’s playful, and fearless for the most part.  

She does love to go outside, but stays very close when we’re out.  If she loses sight, she gives a plaintive yowl or cry until she finds us.  Unfortunately, that big Spotty cat just tries to pounce on her and runs her all around.   I’m waiting for them to come to terms with each other’s presence.  I’ve noticed less pushiness since it’s warming up now, and maybe the cats will figure out their pecking order soon.  I haven’t seen Tootsie hunt or catch anything, but she seems to be really quick with great instincts.  That’s our cat menagerie…  And yes, they’re all spayed!  I think three is quite enough for now :)

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