here comes the rain again

falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion…

Eurythmics song, 1983

Rain fascinates me, as do the clouds driven by winds that deliver it. Too much. Not enough. Devastating. Life-sustaining. Uncontrollable. Predictable…often, but not always nor to our liking much of the time.

Storms. Clouds. Floods. Mud slides. Burst dams. Destroyed crops. Drownings. Sunken boats. Swells. Waterfalls. Slick roads. Hydroplane. Windshield wipers. Blurred vision. Soggy socks. Wet rot. Wet clothes. Splashing in puddles. Hydration. Survival. Songs and sonnets about rain.

Perhaps what we need are more umbrellas! That’s it. What you NEED before you retire, or die, are more umbrellas. I can’t escape the NEED for stuff or plans or recipes or bucket list destinations or financial strategies or whatever someone is trying to sell me or change my mind about. NEED is a very strong word, but it doesn’t fit the daily mantra put out on social media, by influencers, advertising sites or governments. I don’t need what they are peddling no matter how wonderful it may seem. I know what I need.

I could list a bunch of real needs in this blog post, but I won’t. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to take up space discussing a list which would be construed with some controversy…we have enough of that taking place. Besides, this post is about a real need: rain. Also, we need sunshine. However, I got sidetracked because I believe we all need more umbrellas.


Now that Spring has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is greening up and flowers are going wild even in such seldom seen places as the dry valleys and hills of California. Tulips become the symbolic icon of this seasonal change from the Netherlands to Washington State and regions in between.

A great deal of labor goes into the planting of these bulbs, as well as the hybridization of petals and colors. Although these photos are taken in a small but well maintained public garden in Kansas City, there are still thousands of these plants made available simply for human pleasure. I salute those who make this scenery available.

This little oasis of flowers are located in the Kauffman Memorial Garden which is located near the Plaza and Nelson Adkins Museum of Art. The Kauffmans were fixtures in Kansas City where Ewing Kauffman founded the Kansas City Royals, a MLB American League team in 1969. Ewing was an astute businessman and entrepeneur who developed Marion Labs which resulted in him becoming a multi-millionaire. He and his lovely wife, Muriel, were heavily involved in educational entrepenurial endeavors, and in the arts. Not long ago, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts was created from their family’s vision and generosity.

Tulips are short-lived, and we were fortunate to catch them at their last week of full bloom, and during pleasant weather. We overhead some folks state that the tulips will be dug up soon and laid aside for the public to take them for free. I didn’t confirm this, however, it doesn’t surprise me due to the Kauffman’s generosity.

The gardens are open most of the year with different species of plants and flowers show-cased. It is a pleasant facility and offers a tranquil environment where it is easy to just wander, marvel, and meditate. The Kauffmans wanted this place to reflect this peaceful vibe and chose their remains to be buried under flat bronze memorials in a corner of the gardens.

Although these gardens are not grandiose compared to many others, but what they lack in size is easily compensated for in beauty and variety. These gardens are a treasure to behold, and I am positive many other cities and parks can boast the same sentiment about their flower gardens.

I hope you enjoyed nature’s splendor made available to all who choose to see it.

Last image for this post. Thanks for visiting !

In Awe of the Ordinary

I read a quote today which resonated with me.“Familiarity breeds contempt. The same streets, the same people-we may love and appreciate them, but we can get so used to them. We take them for granted. The magic is gone“. The author goes on to say, “This problem is compounded in the digital age. Society trains us to value what is new and exciting. Everything grows brighter and louder to gain our attention. Our attention spans shorten as a result. We want the next thing, and the next thing after that”.

Ordinary is no longer pleasant nor is it deemed acceptable. We see the term GOAT thrown about daily in the sports world. News feeds routinely tout lists of the greatest people and their acheivements. If we don’t experience the extraordinary in our travels then we consider these trips as failures. Average is just not good enough.

Indeed, the world is a miraculous place. Natural and man-made wonders abound, and I plan to experience as many as possible during my remaining years. Sometimes, it seems like the extraordinary has become as common as the ordinary. And, when extraordinary becomes this familiar, what is there to look forward to?

A man doing calisthenics in front of a monument. A baby taking her first step. A symphony tuning their instruments. Ants creating an underground city. Satellites orbiting the earth. The complexity of the human eye. Cellphones and televisions. Neighbors mowing their lawns. Tree leaves budding-out at the precise time every year. Heart transplants. Flying a kite. Mountains, oceans, deserts and plains. Reading a book. And the list continues infinitely.

I watched the rain pelt the greening earth this morning. The clouds moved on and eventually the sun appeared. I saw a doe in our back yard yesterday browsing on honeysuckle leaves while squirrels played tag and birds ate seed from a feeder. Ordinary stuff, and I love it. Truly, I am blessed for all of the ordinary in my life. In fact, I am in awe of it.



Not the sound dogs nor people make, but the type of thing that protects the living part of trees and certain plants from harm.

There is rough bark, smooth bark, serrated bark, peeling bark, multi-colored bark, black bark, white bark, wavy bark, thick bark, thin bark, edible bark, tough-as-nails bark, prickly bark, paper bark, fire-resistant bark, and even twisted bark.

The beauty of bark is simply this-it protects. It can be quite enjoyable to view and to touch.

Bark reminds me of the way we humans try to protect ourselves. Some of us reveal a tough outer texture while others display a thin veneer. Doesn’t matter whether the bark becomes more brittle with age or is supple when younger. Bark is bark. Sometimes our bark is very pleasant to look at and enjoyable to spend time near. Some bark is simply painful to be around and is unattractive. Either way, bark is bark.

What lies beyond the bark is what matters most. Take a tree for example. Just beneath the visible outer bark is a layer called the phloem or inner bark. Beneath it is the cambium and behind it, the sapwood (live xylem), then the heartwood (dead xylem), and finally at the very center is the pith (medulla). Without writing a biological thesis about the genetic makeup of a tree, I simply wish to state that each layer performs a vital function in order for the tree to develop and thrive over time. Much like our bodies do.

As a tree naturally ages and begins to die, the various parts (layers) of the trunk and branches change. As I study a transverse slice of a tree trunk and look at the growth rings and various layers decribed above, I focus on the very center, the core. The once fibrous medulla becomes brittle as it ages, often changes color, and sometimes desinigrates completely over time. The tree rots if left on the ground. Upon death the human body starts the same process of decomposition. Eventually, even our bones turn to ashes. However, the similarity of trees and humans ends at this point. The tree morphs into soil from from whence it came.

The human soul lives on, but not in the earth. Depending on one’s spiritual perspective, our souls may journey to a place called Heaven, turn into angelic beings, reincarnate or be transformed into a variety of possibilities. My belief as a Christian is in the resurrection of the soul. As the Apostle Paul stated, “We know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. For me, and many others, death will be an instantaneous moment of eternal bliss, even though those left behind may suffer the loss of a loved one. Dear friends of ours recently lost their daughter to cancer. She left behind three children and a husband, sister and parents. For this family, they believe in the promise that one day they will be reunited again in a glorious reunion. I hold to the same promise. I hope you do, too.

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

As I age, several noticable insights occur to me. One obvious realization is that I am slowing down physically-much to my dislike, and I have more aches & pains than when I was younger. I know many of you can relate, and if you can’t, just wait !

Another realization which is not new to me, but continues to be reflected in our culture, is the speed in which our social fabric as a people and nation is changing. I know that every generation has dislikes about the next one and visa versa, but with the proliferation of digital social media, there are so many divisive issues which explode upon us daily. And, they do affect us.

Much to my dismay, I have become more cynical, and I detest being so. This, too, is another realization, but one I am striving to change. I believe this is one reason I love nature so much because God’s natural world thrives without human foibles and selfish motives. Certainly, aspects of nature seem to be cruel, but it is also pure and almost limitless in its bounty and beauty..

There is a profound and positive influence at this juncture in my life that I wish to expound upon briefly. Children, and in particular, my grandchildren. When we have conversations about serious to silly stuff, I almost always come away enlightened. Although they lack perspective which only comes through years and trials, they provide a response which is so appealing to me. From simple faith to questioning hard things, a child’s mind is a wonderful gift to all of us. They see the world with a freshness before it becomes tarnished with many of life’s negative experiences.

In 1957, Art Linkletter wrote a book entitled, “Kids Say the Darnest Things“. He was a prolific author and a television personality who hosted a TV show called House Party which aired from 1952 to 1970. He showcased everyday children who provided unrehearsed answers to questions he posed. Most answers were insightful and often extremely funny. As some may recall, Bill Cosby had a TV show using Art’s book title which aired from 1998 to 2000. He used the same format as Art’s show which resulted in the same innocent and stunning responses to his questions.

Life changes all of us;sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. Children grow to become teenagers. Teens become young adults. They, in turn, become middle aged adults-some with kids and some without. Then the middle-aged folk become seniors (I really don’t like that term, but we must be called something, I guess).

This is the part where young children provide us with unadulterated beauty. One doesn’t have to be a parent or grandparent to recognize this fact…one simply has to be open to their existence and contribution. I am a realist and know that not everything which proceeds from a child’s voice is pleasant. Screams, argueing, whinning, backtalking, etc. can be nerve-racking. However, I submit that given a decent environment and opportunities, a child’s voice-which is just an extension of his or her’s heart and thoughts-can have a positive impact upon our daily outlook and response to life. They do for me.

I look forward to many more enlightenments.


Our world is full of contrasts. All of us know this. We see them, sense them, hear them, experience them, feel them, and even smell them. They are fact. Contrasts can be both beautiful and ugly, enrapturing and repulsive, or simply mundane. However, they are almost always noticable. Often, we don’t give contrasts too much thought because they are so common. It is only when we stumble upon the more sublime contradictions do we take greater notice and our attention is drawn to them longer than a few seconds.

The limestone rock which rests on the deep blue lake floor at an obscure angle.


The dancing flames encapsulating logs in a fireplace.

The bemused expression of this adorable, multi-colored canine.

When I consider contrasts, I see vast multitudes of them in nature, people, photographs, music, wrtings, colors, liquids, solids, gases, galaxies, human acheivements, failures, and the list can continue unabated for pages upon pages. However, for this musing I have selected three images. The contrasts between each one are obvious, and the longer one studies them the more numerous they become. And, yet, they have a common thread about them.


t r i s k a i d e k a p h o b i a

Friday the 13th is just another day in mankind’s calendar. It is not unlucky.

No forthcoming disaster. No impending tragedies. No trip-ups. No hidden snares.

Nothing to be frightened of, unless one already has frightening thoughts about something.

Sure, bad stuff happens on this day, but that stuff happens on all other days, too.

Black cats, walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, the mysterious seating arrangement at the Last Supper, and a whole lot of other superstitions ‘don’t hold water’ for me.

I chose to be married on a Friday the 13th and am still married. I am also the recipient of much grace. Why I chose this day in a December is still a mystery to me, although I suspect my young age and mistaken mokie had something do to with it.

I have walked under many ladders and crossed my share of black cats (I even had a black cat). I have visted my share of cemetaries, but prefer doing so in daylight.

Horror movies are not my thing, but they certainly have proliferated as Hollywood is consumed with stories of evil and is intent on disturbing audiences. However, many folks seem to like these flicks and apparently like being scared. No judgement here.

Only one caution. As night approaches, please don’t walk near or in a cemetary…the dead may rise up like zombies and attack you. Otherwise, today is just like any other day.

Hope it’s a good one for all of you, and please pray for the Ukranians.


Light illuminates the farmer’s field as forebodding clouds roll over it. Rain water still carreesses the black bottomland soil. The tanned prairie grass waves proudly on a tall berm built to hold back potential floodwaters from the Missouri River. The blue sky beyond fortells clearer days ahead and a plentiful crop to be harvested come summer.

Thus are the details during the moment I shot this image. Why did I choose it from many others I took? I’m not sure, except I like the variety of natural elements and opposing action taking place. I am reminded of people, and diversity, and of conflict. If one can focus beyond the imminent danger, resolution and calm can prevail.

Such is my hope.


Ever wonder what life would be like if we were permanently suspended?

Unhiged from the drama we call daily living.

Not a care in the world.

Where ferns grow below native ponderosas and white pines.

Then take a trip to a forest where trees actually breath-out oxygen. And the cycle of nature thrives without man’s influence. Where birds gather and brooks flow. When shadows create etherial silhouettes and moon beams filter through tenacles. The earth is covered with a carpet of sweet decay, and owls hoot and hawks screech. Then there is silence.

And the air is so crisp and clean…like in Heaven.

“Seasons c h a n g e and so did I, you need not wonder why…”

Partial lyrics from the song, No Time (1969), by the Canadian rock group,The Guess Who.

The song goes on to describe a broken relationship, and no time for just about anything. However, most of us know there is a reason for the seasons and have a grasp of time, regardless of how fleeting or honey-dripping slow it may seem. Here in the middle of America’s heartland we experience four distinct weather-related seasons. It is Autumn now. Trees, shrubs, and vines change colors like Chameleons, all-the-while beginning the process of shedding their foliage in preparation for the next season. Green grass turns brown. People begin to wear sweaters and jackets as the temperature drops.

Obviously, every living thing has at least one season of life. My choice for this brief post is the change that occurs in human lives as a result of seasons. There are a plethora of expressive descriptions relating to life’s seasons, and to add to the collection seems rather redundant to me. Plus, I don’t believe I can improve on some of the most insightful, and sometimes witty quotes.

First, change is inevitable: age, health, wealth, experiences, perceptions.

Second, change most certainly involves seasons, but may also occur very quickly.

Third, seasonal changes usually involve health, new insights, sometimes limitations, adjusted perceptions, altered responses to circumstances, increased despair or hope.

Fourth, cliche’s become boring, politcal fighting is seen as wasteful, the realization that government can’t really fix a whole lot of anything, distrust creeps into our psyches, beauty often becomes obscurred, mankind needs help, but knows not where to find it.

Fifth, and most importantly, change, especially seasonal changes, can be the most exciting periods of our lives. May it be so for each one of us.

Perhaps a circumstantial, mental, or spiritual adjustment may be of help..