About Michael Doran

I have been encouraged and inspired by many throughout my life, and seek to do the same for others. My blogs and photographs reflect who I am and what I am thinking or seeing at the moment I post something. I hope what I share brings pleasure and meaning to others. Thank you for viewing my posts.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Iris Rising

Something about Spring awakens the deep senses within us. Beauty sprouts from a long Winter’s rest and the soul becomes renewed.

I think of Charles Dickens 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, and recall his famous opening paragraph wherein he states, ” It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”.

It seems to me that we are living in a somewhat similar time as Dickens’ described  London and Paris during the French Revolution. Rather than referring to cities and war, I suggest this pandemic has changed people everywhere. From immense generosity and sacrifice to political pandering and greed, all is exposed.

My hope is that we may see more generosity, sacrifice and kindness each and every day, and become such people ourselves.

Social Distancing Nature’s Way

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Does it seem ironic that much of the world is experiencing this viral pandemic during the Spring season? At the very least most people can step outdoors and inhale fresh air, take a walk and enjoy the beauty of God’s colorful creation. Contemplate the advent of this virus in December and carried on through the winter months. I submit to all that that scenario would create much greater stress than the present. Don’t misunderstand, I do not minimize the current situation, but it could be worsened by the season.

Nature hasn’t seemed to be affected by COVID-19; grass grows, flowers sprout, squirrels play, birds build nests and lay eggs. In more remote areas, lions still roar, monkeys swing in trees, whales traverse the ocean depths and reptiles catch their prey. This lone morning dove has chosen to do what comes natural every year…lay eggs and hatch them. Social distancing is a natural thing for much of the Animal Kingdom.

To be totally honest, I am a bit tired of all the overused buzz words we hear a multitude of times each week. Words and phrases like: new normal; N95 masks; six foot rule; zoom meetings; essential services; sanitize; hoarding; scamming; isolating; etc. All apply, but to what degree? Job loss is real. Businesses will fail, millions will be unemployed in the future, just as they are now. Yet, I see so many folks treat this pandemic like a holiday. I work in an essential service industry and DIY projects are the “thing” right now, but this will pass as the virus continues to reek havoc in our world. People will really suffer if this pandemic continues for many more months.

On a more positive note, I am encouraged by the sense of unity, cooperation, sacrifice, ingenuity, beauty and positive social change which is taking shape around the world. We truly have become a global community. Wouldn’t that be grand if this dynamic continued after this germ is eradicated? Until then, look to nature for inspiration. My dove has distanced herself far enough to be kept from harm, but close enough to be seen and heard. May we learn from her.

 

 

ETHEREAL

 

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“Extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.” (adjective)

These clouds represent the definition rather well. Have you ever experienced this dynamic essence? Sometimes ethereal is an object (such as these clouds) an animal or even people; sometimes it is a situation; and sometimes it is an indescribable experience.

However one encounters the ethereal the moment is difficult to forget.

Recently, I was awakened at 2:30 am by the sound of a screeching child wailing outside of my house. I sprang out of bed to see what was occurring, and to intervene if necessary. My heart pounded as I awakened to the reality of someone being harmed. Once I neared the front door I cracked open the window blind to see what sounded to be very near. Much to my surprise, I witnessed an adult red fox standing ten feet from my door, facing toward the house and screeching without abate. Bizarre.

I was not aware that foxes screeched. I knew they “barked”, but was not familiar with this sound. It was an ethereal moment, and one I won’t forget. I looked up a definition of the sounds a red fox makes and this is what I discovered…” The cries of the red fox can sound surprisingly similar to a human in distress. Males give a short scream in aggression, and females shriek as a mating call.” National Geographic

Facing the door and shrieking leads me to believe this fox was a male. Why he targeted my house is a mystery, but it may have to do with the fact that I once had a dog and this animal sensed him. I so wanted to snap a photo of the beautiful creature, but he ran off just as I raised my cell phone. The picture is indelibly printed in my mind.

 

 

 

 

Monochromatic by Nature

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Well, almost monochromatic, but close. “Where have all the people gone?”  So goes the 1970’s song sung by Joni Mitchell. It is a question that had serious implications (given all of the issues at stake in America and the unrest at that juncture of time).

I looked out my sliding glass door after a light snow, and this is what I found. It was peaceful, and oh, so white. However, as often comes to mind are partial lyrics of days gone by…this happens quite often.

So, I study the Adirondack chairs. And, I study them a bit longer. I wonder where have I gone? What has happened to my life? I feel uncomfortable. But, to not question is an affront to introspection and character. Somehow, I must determine the reasons as to why I feel this way.

Can anyone relate? Lots of questions. So few answers in and of myself. There is One who has all the answers. As I study scripture, I am drawn to conclude, as did James, the brother of Jesus, that “Life is but a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes away”. If that is true then who am I to go through life without considering what is next?

I often look to the future, but of almost equal importance, I look at here and now. I wish I could change many of my past behaviors and consequences, but I cannot. Nor can anyone else. Regrets? Yes. Defeat? No. Healing? Yes, but it takes time. May we all be patient. Don’t forget the power of hope. And, dream in color !

 

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Standing Out from the Crowd!

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Canadian geese are a funny lot. They have taken over the Midwest and are found everywhere. Many don’t fly south for the winter as they all used to do. They waddle around haphazardly and stop traffic constantly. They poop everywhere and have become quite the nuisance. Yet something about them intrigues me…perhaps it’s their adaptability.

One source said it is a Canadian attempt to take over America, one goose at a time. At the rate they are increasing, and are on the protected species list, he may be right ! In the meantime one bird seems to be having a difficult time knowing which way is up. Some say he is fishing, but I don’t believe it. Perhaps he was one too many eggs in the nest.

Nah, he is fishing…they all do it !

Dog Tired

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Did 2019 seem like a blur? So much going on constantly…some of our time was productive, some unproductive and some dysfunctional.

Actually, a lot of dysfunction and chaos which can make for a very stressful life. And, stress can be simply exhausting. Dog tired exhausting , in fact.

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Ever felt like these guys? Of course, we all have. Too tired to press on, to seize the day, to conquer that which must be conquered? 

I offer a snippet of advice for the coming year ahead. Learn from these guys and take a break when you’re worn down and out. Make the time to be still…to meditate and to sleep. Work will always be waiting so no worries there. The cell phone can be turned off. Friends and family can be ignored temporally. Peaceful rest is what is so often needed in our hectic world. I dare you to be dog tired on a regular basis and just flop down and rest. You will be glad you did, and so will others. May 2020 be a wonderful year!

Peace

Upside Down

 

Ever feel like your world has turned upside down…for a day. Perhaps longer? Lots longer?

Most, if not all of us have, and it can be quite disconcerting. Confusing, in fact.

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So, what to do about it? How can we turn our topsy-turvy world right side up again?

There are many answers which can be inserted for guidance, but I’ll use these for now.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (and) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In other words, take the focus off of self and place it where it was meant to be in the beginning. We may be surprised as what follows!

Liberty Memorial

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This 217 foot tall memorial and adjacent structures were completed in 1926. It was dedicated after the conclusion of WW I and is considered the American national memorial to the Great War.

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It stands on a hill across from Kansas City’s Union Rail Station. Generals and presidents from across the globe attended the commemoration ceremony along with over 100,000 local residents and visitors. This monument was refurbished and reinforced between 2000 and 2002. A world class museum was added underneath.

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There are four protectors of peace which depict guardian spirits that watch over the memorial as designed and carved by Robert Aitken: honor, courage, patriotism and sacrifice. When created and for many years thereafter, there was a plume of illuminated steam which bellowed out of the top. This was quite dramatic to view from miles away and appeared to be flames of gas.

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The next image is a sideways upper view just to reveal how tall 66 meters is when standing at its base. An elevator takes viewers to the top external walkway. I love the architectural lines and curves of the cylinder.

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There are two concrete sphinxes which represent memory and future…hoping that this will be the last great war. The “future” sphinx faces west away from Europe and towards the future while “memory” shrouds her face from the past. Such is the symbolism as we are told.

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