T I M E

Conversing with a long-time friend via email yesterday, Bill told me his wife was doing some decluttering and came across her dad’s wrist watch. He passed away 33 years ago-the same year my father died.

Something extraordinary was discovered. The watch was still running and had kept perfect time. And, we don’t know when her dad put a new battery in the watch…it could have been several years earlier before he passed.

How does one explain that? Pretty amazing.

The following photos represent a moment in time. On my return home from errands I came upon a vantage point where I could see an awesome afternoon sky. We had a thunderstorm the day before and these were the remnants of the cloud covering that had produced an abundance of rain.

You may ask what do photos of the sky and clouds have to do with my short story about the watch and time. I thought about that and came up with the following.  For every second I viewed the clouds moving and changing shapes and colors, time elapsed, just like the watch. Our every breath and heartbeat takes time regardless of how fast or slow they occur. That is the correlation.

My conclusion is that time is relative to circumstance, but not to the eternal clock which simply keeps on ticking until the day it stops. My incentive is to make the most of every minute because time, as we know it, may end at any moment for me and for you. It’s now time to share my images (all unedited)…pun intended!

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Maiz on Monday Morning

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Pre-Dawn Corn & Sinking Moon

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Close-up of Corn Stalk Tips as the Sun Rises above the Horizon

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Sunrise Diffused by Clouds

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Sunlight Breaking Through the Clouds

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Cornfield with the Sun Beginning to Illuminate the Stalks

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Close-up of Ripening Corn Stalks with Sunlight

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Infra-red Close-up of Stalks

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Infra-red Image of Corn Field

Pleasant morning with a palette of colors in just an half hour. Afternoon temperature was 95 degrees F…a twenty degree increase from the morning temperature (common for this climate and time of year). Tassels are just now developing with corn heads appearing within a week or two. We are blessed to have an abundance of rich and large tracts of land to grow crops for us and the world.

 

 

 

“What, me worry?”

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Walking the fence line with Carson this morning I almost strolled past this little guy before he caught my attention. Unlike most baby birds this one didn’t make a noise. A robin would have been yelling at me upon sight. This sparrow is confident that he can fly, although without tail feathers fully developed, I have my doubts. However, I have witnessed many baby birds motivate at very early ages. When I came back an half hour later he was gone, and so were his parents who were keeping a close watch on him.

Jesus said, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns , and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:25-27

 

36,000 Feet

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Many of you have witnessed this dynamic  view from a commercial jet. This one was flying at 525 mph at an altitude of 36,00 feet. We must have had a decent tailwind because we arrived almost twenty minutes early. Typically, most commercial jets fly around 400 to 450 mph to preserve fuel.

Flying from the east coast to Kansas City, the cloud covering began to thicken as we got closer to our destination. I like clouds and find them fascinating as long as I am above them or below them…not so much when I am in the midst of them. Flying in a bus with wings is equally as fascinating. After the Wright Brothers, Bleriot and Curtis changed the concept of “lighter than air travel”, literally the sky became the limit. Needless to say, our lives have been changed forever.

Instead of taking a steam ship across an ocean, a stage coach across the plains or walking from one village to another, man’s expectations and ingenuity created newer and faster and more comfortable means of travel. Considering how we traverse the world (much less our city or rural countryside) we have leaped ahead a century into impatient people who can’t stand to wait a moment longer to board a plane , a train, a rental car or taxi. A far cry from not that long ago. Waiting was simply a part of life then and still is in many parts of our world.

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Perhaps the most daunting challenge concerning flying in this century is going through security and obtaining our boarding pass (if not done ahead of time). It is not just the process, but also there are a certain amount of travelers who are in hyper-mode and can be quite rude at times. Ever missed a flight? I have. Was it enjoyable? No. Did I survive? Yes. Will I travel by jet again? Yes. Although I haven’t traveled on Virgin Airlines to-date, I believe Richard Branson had it right when he said that air travel should be less stressful and more enjoyable. He had the money to change that and he created a new and different commercial airline company. Kudos to him for doing so.

On my flight back from Philadelphia I witnessed numerous young families with babies and toddlers. They were pushing strollers, carrying bags, pulling bags, walking with backpacks and children in arms. One would expect these parents would be the most rude and less understanding about all of the rules and waiting. Instead, I found them to be the most patient and pleasant of all the travelers I encountered. So, why are those who have the most issues to deal with the most patient and pleasant. Perhaps dealing with issues on a regular basis, and knowing what to expect prepared them for the task ahead with the end result being worth it. Whether visiting family and /or friends or vacationing, they took all of the hassles in stride. It’s kind of like our ancestors did before technology “simplified” our lives. I appreciated the 36,000 feet ride back home more than ever…even with babies crying.

Shadows

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I hiked in a nearby wooded park yesterday morning. Using my cell phone’s camera, I captured several images of nature’s creation. Besides the vibrant colored wild flowers and insects, this particular image grabbed my attention. The play of the sun sifting through the thick canopy of trees created all manner of shadows. In this case the dead wood provided the perfect screen for the leaves to project their shadow upon.

I didn’t linger as I was walking for enjoyment as well as for exercise. I have thought about shadows since I took this photograph. Wherever there is light, there will be a shadow. When I was atop a 12,000 ft. mountain in the Rockies several years ago, I recall these giant clouds rolling overhead at a very fast rate. Yet, their shadows seemed so small when blanketing the terrain. I recall feeling so insignificant in comparison. Nature has a way of putting our lives in proper perspective.

Shadows can’t always be trusted because they don’t always reveal accurately the very essence of the thing being illuminated. They can become quite distorted depending on the angle of light and the screen they are displayed on.

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Why is it we are sometimes afraid of shadows? I believe it hinges on the object being illuminated. If we don’t know what or who is causing the shadow, this is when our imaginations can run wild. Many movies have used shadows to invoke fear in the hearts of the actor, as well as the viewers of the movie. Dark alleys, blowing trees at night, a cat racing across a darkened room, an arm raised with an object that looks like a knife…there are endless possibilities!

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I have been ran over by my own shadow on many occasions. I have stepped on many shadows, as well. I’ve even had shadows follow me. But, I have never had a shadow hurt me. Besides making one feel scared at times, shadows can be fun…think of shadow animal figures projected on a wall. This form of art can become quite amusing. It is what’s in front of the shadow that we are really concerned about. A palm tree perhaps!

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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.

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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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