Leader of the Band

In America we celebrate things such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and many more. This Sunday we will be celebrating Father’s Day. It is a time of family gatherings, visiting parents and grandparents or simply doing something nice for dad.

I have thought quite a bit about this year’s Father’s Day, probably due to the fact that Cheryl lost her father in January, and a brother (who is a dad) last year. I lost my Father thirty-three years ago, yet I still miss him. Also, friends of ours just lost their dad to cancer. So, it really doesn’t surprise me that this particular Father’s Day has impacted me. I was going to write a tribute to fathers, but recalled a song which has always resonated with me. I hope it does for you, as well. The lyrics are below, but I also encourage you to listen to this song via YouTube or other audio/visual website; it is soothing and thought provoking.

The singer/songwriter is Dan Fogelberg. He wrote and recorded this song in 1981 as a tribute to his father who died the following year. I dedicate this song to all good fathers- alive, fallen or off to war. And for the many souls who have never known a father or who may have had one who was mean-spirited or only there in form, uninvolved. Bless you, and may you find someone who will be a father to you. And most importantly, we have a loving Father above. Look to Him.

Leader of the Band

An only child, alone and wild, a cabinet maker’s son, his hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none. He left his home and went his lone and solitary way, and he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay.

A quite man of music, denied a simpler fate, he tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn’t wait. He earned his love through discipline, a thund’ring, velvet hand. His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.

My brother’s lives were different, for they heard another call. One went to Chicago and the other to Saint Paul. And I’m in Colorado, when not in some hotel, living out this life I’ve chosen, come to know so well.

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road. I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go. I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough. And, papa, I don’t think I said “I love you” near enough.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band…I am the living legacy to the leader of the band.

 

On the way to Oz

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This was such a fun photograph to take. Cheryl brought this to my attention well over a year ago after I had completed some branch trimming. The past year or so has made the facial image even more real than before so she directed my attention to the tree again.

The tree is a mature, but not old, Pin Oak. Over the years I have pruned the lower branches as an act of survival or I would have been decapitated while mowing the lawn under its umbrella of tough twigs and branches which seem to bend toward the earth at an ever-increasing rate. I suspect healthy growth and gravity are the culprits. Good for the tree…bad for the man.

The result you see was not intentional. However, I believe I created something akin to the apple trees in the movie, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion all needed to pause for a refreshing break while on their way to the magical city of Oz for some much needed help. As soon as the nearby apple trees were located while in the enchanted forest, Dorothy plucked an apple from one of them (which looked very similar to this guy). The tree asked her how would she like having an apple plucked from her and then began throwing apples at the group. They hurriedly moved on!

It is a good thing Pin Oaks don’t grow apples. However, they do grow many pin oak nuts which the squirrels love to eat. Perhaps that is why I always see the squirrels scurrying past this tree at a faster rate than any other! They may have had a knock or two on their heads!

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Sheen

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If I were to ask what this image is you are viewing, some of you will get it right away and some will be left wondering (or at least guessing).

Spontaneous and opportunistic are how I would describe my style of photography and prose. In this case I used my cell phone camera because that is all I had available for the moment to snap this photograph.

This image is 100% natural, and laid next to me on the couch early this morning as the sun began to shine brilliantly through an east window in our living room. The sunlight which created a wonderful sheen in the center and faint shadows at the edges captured my attention. Of course, the waves are like a surfer’s paradise and can’t be overlooked.

I share this for the sheer pleasure of doing so. This image is of Carson’s side as the sun illuminated his silky fur. Not all Westie’s are silky, but he certainly is. Carson is a bit unusual in that he likes humans a lot, but doesn’t want to be caressed too much. He is his own dog, so-to-speak. So, when an opportunity comes along, like this morning’s, where he wanted to rest next to me, I looked upon him with admiration and affection.

What is it about our beloved pets that creates such a bond? Those who have and enjoy their pets know that answer… for it lies in the heart.

 

 

Harmony

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Welcome.. I chose this photograph of a part of downtown Montreal while visiting a few years ago. The variance from this modern glass-paneled high rise to that of the old stone church initially struck me as out of place due to the proximity of the old and new so close together. Actually, there are several old churches dotting the modern Montreal landscape. There is also an entire historic section of the city referred to as Old Montreal. I like the preservation of the historic contrasting with the contemporary. There is a sense of cohesiveness associated with this dynamic.

The young and the old peacefully co-existing can be applied to people, as well. So can folks of different ethnicity, skin color, language, tradition, religion, cuisine, celebrations, holidays, etc. When people get it right and see diversity as a strength rather than being fearful of it, living together can actually be a pleasant experience for all. I acknowledge that melding together in this era is especially difficult due to the violence of a few who negatively affect so many.

Nevertheless, may we all strive for a piece of Harmony among one another. This is how our world was originally created. Pray that it will continue to be moving forward. Thanks, and enjoy today, tomorrow, being alive and loving what is good and discarding what isn’t. There is too much beauty in our world to be wasted on negatives.

 

Memorial Day

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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln’s speech given on November 19, 1863 at Gettysburg to honor the dead of both the North and South of the great Civil war which eventually produced 600,000 deaths…far greater than any other war we have fought and died for.

I have felt an impulse to write sometime significant about this American Memorial Day. I recognize that many countries have their own version of a memorial day which allows them to ponder and honor the sacrifices of past and present soldiers, diplomats and brave citizens. I came across President Ronald Reagan’s famous speech which reignited a patriotic pride in Americans (given in 1986, and which addressed many conflicts including Vietnam). However, when I recalled Mr. Lincoln’s speech and was reminded of Martin Luther King’s, ” I Have a Dream” speech, I came to realize that these speeches can speak louder and more authoritative than any prose I could write. This brief summary is not about politics or right and wrong, nor even war itself. It is about those brave men and women in America, and throughout the world who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom-either from an internal oppressor or and external oppressor…and continue to do so. Also, this is not a flag waving-in-your-face post about how great America is. We have many faults and a history of violence, yet we have always retained the good and decent things in life which have made America a beacon to others for so many years. May she ever remain so. 

 Blessings to all this Memorial Day.

Pondering !

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I came across this sight as I was driving into town. I have posted a couple of times a threesome of these fine looking horses grazing in their field or laying down on the prairie grass. However, I have not seen them in the pond before so it was an exciting moment for me.

For all of you horse owners, this may be a common sight, but not for me. I don’t know where the fourth horse came from (as there has always been three together), but perhaps he is a lookout for those in the water. He seems to be on patrol.

Just thought I would share a moment in time when I witnessed something new to me, and probably to many of you, as well. I wish the image was of better quality, but the pond is about 400 meters from my vantage point and I zoomed to the max.

Thanks for the water, dude !

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This is Adam, one sculpture of two with the other being Eve, of course. These granite sculptures are located in Loose Park, a 74 acre swatch of beautiful land in the heart of Kansas City. Part of the park was used as confederate canon placement during the Battle of Westport during the Civil War. Just west of this fountain and herb garden is the Rose Garden which has 1.4 acres of 125 varieties of roses-first planted in 1939. Jacob Loose was a successful business man and philanthropist. After his death his wife, Ella, donated the land for this property in honor of her husband.

Cheryl and I visited this park two weekends ago. Unfortunately, a bit too early for half the roses to be in bloom, but wonderful, nevertheless. As we strolled to the herb garden and sculptures, I noticed two sparrows taking turns at bathing and drinking from this hand-held bowl of water. I only had my cell phone or I would have zoomed in for a closeup. However, the sight of these birds utilizing a man-made water source in a very serene setting really blessed me so I took this photo. Enjoy !