Four Seasons

Much has been written about the four seasons of our lives and of nature. Hence, even the calendar is based upon the stars and seasons: Autumnal Equinox, Winter Solstice, Vernal Equinox & Summer Solstice. I list these as they come at this time, and since summer is officially over (at least in the northern hemisphere) we enter the season of Autumn or Fall. Our lives correlate to nature’s seasons rather well.

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Actually, all life begins in the spring season when we are conceived, born and we begin our early years of development. I realize that some creatures begin their lives in different seasons, but I am basing my dialog on human beings. At this stage of the cycle of life we are filled with wonderment and often joy. I know, there are so many children whose lives appear to be anything but joyful. However, I have seen children in slums who find joy in the most dire circumstances. They inspire me.

Then comes Summer which welcomes the developing years of one’s life. This season is filled with activity, learning, and blessings. The later part of Summer involves adolescence and the challenges and excitement which accompany this season of life. Funny, how so many of us reflect upon this season most fondly as we grow older. Based on experience, please enjoy, but be careful as risks are often taken without any thought of danger…I am a living example!

Autumn comes next as these are the middle-aged years of one’s life. I now have two grandchildren which “knock my socks off” when I get to spend time with them. This is a joy-filled, and a reflective season, and is usually accompanied by many memories of raising our children. I believe it to be my most favored season …especially because I relate to nature so closely and the change of this season is so dramatic.

Winter follows and we experience the cleansing of new fallen snow and arctic blasts of air which cleanse the mind and spirit. It is also when we realize that this is the last season and we best make the most of it. Family and friends are most important during this time. Far too often we succumb to physical and mental illnesses which cause alarm among all who care. However, we were never promised an eternal life while enveloped in these bodies of flesh and bones.

This photograph was taken a few days ago and reflects nature’s changing personality during the season from Summer to Fall. I captured this image with my cell phone camera and admit it is nothing spectacular. Yet, I like it because it reveals an authentic representation of our reality, and of our seasons. So, whatever season of life you find yourself in, I encourage you to stop and enjoy it. As is so often stated, “Time flies”. There are no do-overs in life, only restarts!

CLOVE

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For a some reason that alludes me, I chose to post this marigold again. It was one of several photographs that I included in a post a few blogs ago. However, this time is a bit different as it stands alone. Before, it was one image among several others.

There is something captivating about it. This is not about me…I did not create this beauty, God did. Yet, I feel honored to have been a part of it’s development…to capture it’s image.

I call it Lava because that is what the colors and intensity reminds me of. Do you ever see or hear or smell something from yesteryear that suddenly becomes present in something else? It is a fascinating journey of the senses. As much as we marvel at the things we see, and often hear and read; it is the fragrance of something that really jolts me into remembrance of things gone by.

I can’t really explain it, but maybe it is because we rely so much on our eyesight, words and sounds that odors take a back seat. However, I bet if we were to consult a deaf and blind person, the sense of smell would become paramount. That dynamic happens to me occasionally when I catch a whiff of something that transforms me back to that time and place. Case in point; I gave platelets and red blood cells yesterday and one of the techs stopped by to check on me. She had a fragrance which smelled of cloves. I asked her about it and said it was some sort of Essential Oil product. I told her it reminded me of cloves, and in particular clove chewing gum which was available when I was a child. She thought that strange and I guess she is right, although it was somewhat of a novelty at the time. I don’t think it is available anymore.

Anyway, for a moment I was transformed to my childhood when, on occasion, my dad would allow me to buy a pack of clove gum. I can still taste it.

Blocking the Vestibule

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I had just exited the doctor’s office on the ground floor of the medical office building when a rather large man in a wheel chair was peddling backwards in a straight line, directly center of the bi-folding vestibule doors. I quickly caught up to him.

He never looked to the left or right as he slowly traveled. He paused in the vestibule to catch his breath. That’s when I said, “How is it you can move backwards in such a straight line without a mirror?”. “Plenty of practice”, he responded with a chuckle. That’s when I noticed he was on oxygen and had a difficult time breathing. I understand this all too well, as I grew up with asthma, as did my children. My dad died of chronic lung disease due to smoking for over forty-years. COPD.

So, I stopped and talked with this man…he black and me white…made no difference. He said he never smoked a day in his life, but lived in households all his life where smoking was constant…a second-hand-smoke victim. We chatted some more about various things, blocking the center of the vestibule as people came and went for over twenty minutes. They didn’t seem to care, nor did we.

I felt inspired to share with him a book I had just read which might encourage him. When I began to suggest this book he told me he never learned how to read. Without skipping a beat he said he followed sports to the extreme. We then talked about American football and the Kansas City Chief’s upcoming game with the New England Patriots, last years champs. He said KC will blow them away. I said I hoped so, although I knew it would be a tough game. We bumped fists and then wished each other our sincerest blessings. He continued to smile and wave as I walked toward my car.

That night the Patriots and Chief’s were almost tied at half time. The third quarter saw both teams put up a few points on the board. Then the fourth quarter came and KC blasted New England with three unanswered touchdowns and won 42 to 27.

That’s when I knew I was in the presence of a prophet, and had made a new friend !

TORN

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All week we have had Monarchs gathering nectar in preparation for their long flight to Mexico. I can’t fathom that such a small creature as a butterfly can fly up to 3,000 miles (4,800 KM) from Canada to Mexico to escape winter temperatures. From my home the distance is about half of that.

This Monarch has a torn wing…damaged goods is what some would call him; not much good for anything now that he is broken. Typically a tear such as this would keep the insect from flying, but he seems to do just fine. I hope he makes it safely. Butterflies can’t self-repair torn wings like a lizard can grow a new tail, but I read where some people actually do this for them!

I realized many years ago that all (not most) humans have some form of tear or tears. Sometimes these tears are physical and quite obvious, but for most they are hidden from others or they are revealed through words and actions at specific moments. With all of the self-help books published, it is clear that people are striving to repair their brokenness. We may have some success, but we will never completely heal without the aid of our God.

So, the next time you look in a mirror, stop long enough to acknowledge your torn body or ego or mind…maybe even a crushed spirit. Upon doing so resolve to accept what can’t be changed and seek help with what can. I’ve looked into a mirror enough times to know that I need assistance quite regularly. I also know that I, and you, are wonderfully made creatures in God’s image. So, be hopeful and joyful. And, please look above for the ultimate healing.

Sunset Thoughts

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I glanced out our west kitchen window and caught a glimpse of the setting sun.

I hurriedly went for my camera and stepped outside for a few shots.

Don’t know why this was so important as I have a thousand photographs of sun rises and sun sets.

I snapped the sun from various angles and positions, but post only two images. It doesn’t really matter anyway. The sun shines and sets as directed by the Creator so where I stand to take a photograph really makes no difference. Nor does taking a photograph.

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However, a photographer, like a painter or writer, envisions that perfect image he or she has in the mind. It is an intuitive thing, I believe.

These photos are nothing extraordinary, but possesses a part of me. I was compelled to take it for no other reason than to bring myself a bit of satisfaction.

I share them to encourage you…to make an impulsive leap towards something which brings you joy and fulfillment…even for a moment or two.

I’ve been ‘down in the dumps’ lately and needed a bit of inspiration. Without a job and striving to start a new career as an independent business, I feel a sense of fear and self-doubt. Yet, deep down inside, I know I can make this adventure work to my (and other’s) benefit.

Every photograph, and every typed or written word helps.

I am blessed.