LEAVES

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Yesterday, I watched a multitude of vibrant colored leaves fall to the ground caused by a strong southern wind. What once was green grass is now red and pale maple leaves (the pale being the underside of each leaf).

Within a short period of time I was looking at a carpet laid down by nature…fascinating!

I recalled as a child witnessing the same spectacle while sitting inside our home and looking out of our picture window. Then, leaves in abundance meant leaves to play with. Did you ever rake-up huge piles of leaves then run a jump on top of them? I did, along with my sisters. Running and jumping into the pile wasn’t good enough so we climbed our large Silver Maple tree from where the leaves came from and dropped onto the pile.

Unfortunately the pile didn’t cushion the falls as well as we wished so we kept adding more and more leaves to the pile and climbed higher and dropped farther each time. Eventually, the effort and the pain wasn’t worth it so we would stop, but boy was that fun for awhile!

Mom would have liked us to finish the raking job, but we just couldn’t as hot chocolate needed our full attention.

Remember when?

 

Laughter

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Forgive the lack of clarity of this image of my friend, but he caught me off guard as we shared a few jokes. It was all I could to do to pull up my Canon and fire away.

Laughter is like that sometimes…we can just burst out with a giant guffaw or heehaw in this case! Whatever triggers a good laugh is worth its weight in gold. There is nothing like a hearty chuckle to set people at ease and dispel any animosity.

So, I hope you enjoy sharing something to laugh at this weekend, and laugh at someone else’s well-intentioned joke or comment. Go ahead and snicker a time or two…it will do you good !

Worn Out Shoes

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I knew a man, Bojangles, and he danced for you, in worn out shoes

Silver hair, a ragged shirt and baggy pants, the ‘old soft shoe’

He jumped so high, jumped so high, then he’d lightly touch down

I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was, down and out

He looked to me to be the ‘eyes of age’ as he spoke right out

He talked of life, he talked of life, he laughed and clicked his heels…

 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1970)

 

CONTRASTS

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The wheat is long gone-harvested in June. Barren fields now stand where the Staff of Life used to grow; ready to be plowed and replanted come late winter.

The deep blue skies and brilliant, cotton ball clouds yield to the darker grays of Autumn.

Contrasts are everywhere.

Trees shed their leaves while hedge rows bear their balls of fruit. Rains drench the good earth where wastelands once stood.

Calves are putting on fat for the winter while squirrels are busy hiding nuts for the long cold season ahead.

Contrasts are everywhere.

Birds of all sorts begin their yearly migration to warmer climates. Rodents dig deeper tunnels and store up food for the shut-in days of winter.

Even vehicles are ‘winterized’ in anticipation of frigid temperatures and people prepare for the cold by exchanging wardrobes. 

Contrasts are everywhere.

The last major hurricane, Michael, just made its way through Florida and up the eastern seaboard leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Too many lives are changed in a not-so-positive-way.

Communities gather together to respond to the crisis while strangers donate money and supplies to those they don’t know.

Contrasts are everywhere, and there is no way of escaping them. May we all engage them in a spirit of optimism and generosity. 

Change can be difficult, but also very rewarding. May it be so for each of us.

 

SEASONS

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Bob Dylan sang about “The times they are a changin’“, and Solomon wrote, “To everything there is a season” and hundreds more have written about the changing of seasons-whether they be climate changes or life stages. Seasons happen with regularity.

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Here in the Midwest of America we are entering the season referred to as Autumn or Fall. Temperatures begin to cool, rains become more frequent, days become shorter, crops are harvested and Baseball concludes while Football is in full motion. Many folk like this season best as it represents a change from the dog days of summer to blissful foliage colors and new wardrobes worn. There is beauty even in the seemingly mundane things of life.

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As much as we like to talk about the weather, it is the seasons of life that really matter most. Some don’t like to discuss the changing of seasons as they bring mortality into sharper focus. However, so much can be accomplished during the later seasons of life and discovering your gift to humanity may be the biggest challenge. It is for me. Health is another season changer for many. I recall when I had my spinal fusion in 2012 that many things changed for me. I could no longer do some of the things I used to do. A good friend of mine told me to accept my new normal and move on. That took a while, but I did (not without my personal struggles, though).

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I leave you with this thought…actually, I am talking to myself, but if it applies to you so much the better.  Simply be radiant !

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Off The Beaten Path

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There is a little know Mayan archaeological site nestled between a main road and Cancun resort hotels called El Rey. It is not advertised and the cost of admission is cheap. No vendors, no hype, just ancient stone structures of a civilization long gone…and iguanas. Lots of iguanas !

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There are probably hundreds of them, although we saw about thirty, but we knew we were being watched. They like to perch high upon the ancient stone structures and act as sentinels such as this guy is doing.

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There are a variety of iguana colors and sizes at El Rey. Some are black, some striped, some gray and some molting. They were curious about us as we approached them. Most lizards would let us get to within three feet before turning tail or dashing away. Although they walk slowly and deliberately, they can sprint quite fast when necessary.

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They have a keen sense of smell, and an extra eye which only detects light and dark, plus Parana-like teeth for tearing leaves off vegetation. They will bite when provoked and their 80 to 120 razor-sharp teeth can do some damage to human’s skin.

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Notice how well they blend in with their surroundings…like chameleon lizards, except these guys keep their color adapted to their area of influence.

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Unlike their cousins on the Pacific coastal regions which grow to over six feet in length, these east coast lizards average about eighteen inches to two feet.

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Although El Rey offers no towering pyramids and observatories such as those found at Chichen Itza, Uxmal or Tikal, it does provide a glimpse of an early eastern civilization with house foundations, a main street, religious temple sites and a variety of other structures. However, the iguanas rule this site…you will be watched all the time you are there !