Collateral Damage from a Day of Fun

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Despite the gloomy weather of late as the seasons change from Summer to Winter with little evidence of Autumn, except for the lovely foliage colors, I thought it appropriate to share this photo. Yesterday it was 70 degree F. in the afternoon, and today it was a cool 27 degrees F. this morning. Regardless, I like this image because it is the aftermath of grandchildren playing with some of their toys at our home…they eventually were picked up with their assistance. They have learned responsibility.

These toys are considered rudimentary these days, but they bring back fond memories for me. We try to keep life simple, yet Elliot (4 years) can maneuver through an iPad faster than I can turn it on!

Our lives seem so complicated these days. You may call me a bit old fashioned, but I believe there are just too many activities, too many videos, too many texts, too many tweets, too many meals outside the home, etc.. Families and friends have little time for, well, family and friends.

Funny, as I have aged I have become more introverted, but I value relationships as much-if not more- than when I was younger. Rather a paradox which I don’t quite understand at this stage of life. Perhaps circumstances are to blame, however, it doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that we don’t take a moment of life for granted. Whether very young, an adolescent, a young adult or full-fledged adult with a family…every day is precious. I’ve been through depression so I know what it’s like to not feel this way, but feelings are deceiving. Even during my worst moments, I knew deep down inside that every day mattered, and vowed to wait for the good moments to reappear. That took quite some time. I still struggle, as do many of you, but I consider myself fortunate.

Be encouraged by God’s word; ” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Sometimes we just need to have faith to get us through the tough times. This doesn’t necessarily mean loads of money or excellent health or even stellar jobs…It simply means to be blessed with His presence of peace which leads to a prosperity of a far better kind. I had to learn to be patient, and I am still learning. Please join me.

 

Change

 

It is wonderful to witness a pair of Mallards move along a pond as if ice skating…so smooth. Even more so when they are paired with their hens. The other hen is just right of this photograph. I tried to capture all four of them, but they became leary of my presence and divided a bit.

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A short walk on a very windy Fall day revealed that the season is definitely changing from Summer to Autumn.

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The old and the new somehow gel together. This old silo has witnessed many of harvests, but it only sees housing sub-divisions built around it these days. It seems to be inevitable that fallow days are numbered. We all need energy, but is the best way to acquire it?

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Prairie grass still stands tall, but only for a short while. Soon, blue grass lawns and residential housing will take over this parcel of land..what used to be grazing fields, ponds, and hedge trees.

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Grateful for electricity. Looking forward to other viable sources for energy in the future.

Rolled

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Did you “roll out of bed” this morning? Have you ever “rolled your own”? How about “rolled your eyes” at something someone said that you have heard a dozen times before ? As a child did you “roll down hills” or perhaps, played skeet ball or boccie ball where you “rolled a ball”  hoping to have it land at a specific spot? Have you witnessed one sports team “roll over” another in a lop-sided competition ? A funny sight is to watch a lone vehicle tire “roll down a street” for a long distance as if it had a driver.  Then there is the song “Rollin’ Down the River”…not sure how one does that, but it’s a great song. CCR and Tina Turner made it memorable. And, who can forget “roller skates”?

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A farmer rolled these round bales of hay. Actually, they are rather large and heavy. After his tractor rake gathers the hay and his baling machine rolls the hay, they are wrapped in a fiber net to hold them together. When a roll is moved a tractor with a long pointed pole impales the center and hauls it off to feed livestock.

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This year produced a productive crop of hay and bales. When you see an entire field of many acres dotted with these round bales, it appears as though they lined up to fight or to play a game of sorts. Imagine this scene fifty times larger.

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As you can tell, Autumn is beginning to reveal herself in the Midwest. Foliage is changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are starting to drop. This is also harvest time for several crops. The squirrels are going crazy stockpiling their winter food source which can be in a hundred places per squirrel. I’ve always wondered how they know exactly where they buried their nuts and seeds. They are fun to watch. In conclusion, I completely enjoy this season, and hope you do, too.

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 who “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!

Last Hurrah

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Sometimes photographs don’t need much, if any, commentary. I am fortunate that I follow many talented photographers who provide excellent images and equally titillating commentary. I don’t know if this image even comes close, but I like it (if that counts).

These blossoms may be this year’s last salute to a pleasant summer for us in the Midwestern United States. These Geraniums have bloomed several times, but I think this will be their last until Spring. Hence, the hurrah!

I think sometimes we, as people, reflect the natural environment around us…or could it be the other way around? Either way, I pray Texans will see such beauty again and soon after the flood waters recede.

To Everything There is a Season

To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, and a time to reap

A time to kill, and a time to heal

A time to laugh, and a time to weep

To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn

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Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons; amongst the greatest is the change in tree and shrub foliage. I love greens all summer long, and hate to see them turn to browns and greys in the winter, but before this occurs we are treated with a spectacle of color painted by nature herself. Consider the variety of vegetation coupled with an inexhaustible array of colors that man can mimic, but never duplicate in such exquisite beauty.

The words above are from a song made famous by a rock group called The Byrds in 1965. The lyrics are from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Pete Seeger, a singer-songwriter took these words and crafted this song which became an anti-Vietnam War song. The last verse says that peace is never too late.

It becomes obvious to me that these words are timeless in their meaning and interpretations according to the era they are read and pondered. We know not what is in store for any of us…only One has such knowledge. We can plan and prepare, discuss and implement, but we never really control most of the outcomes of our lives. Some will disagree, of course, and that’s okay. Each of us views life from different lenses. My perspective comes from several sources: my own experiences and seeing those of others, plus my reference point concerning all things-God.

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Change starts one leaf at a time, and before you know it, the whole tree is ablaze in color! May this season of your life be full of growth, peace and an abundance of blessings.

Puddles

11-5-14 019 Early morning, several weeks ago, I took a walk through one of my favorite parks. There is an asphalt trail which winds its way over a thirty mile stretch of NE Kansas terrain. It traverses a pond in this park which has a loop around it. The Autumn leaves were a brilliant orange in the awakening east horizon. It rained a bit the night before and there were puddles of water helter-skelter. When I came upon this particular stretch of asphalt and beheld the radiance of the reflected maple trees, I stopped instantly. I gazed at what I saw in the water. A reflection to be sure, but much more. I saw a season coming to an end. I witnessed a transformation. I felt as if I were walking on holy ground.

As usual, I had my Canon with me and I took the shot. This is what I saw…what I stared at for several minutes. The reflection was transforming. Water reflecting light. Light illuminating color. Black framing the subject without any particular order. And, a slight breeze which the camera did not capture, but which was a part of this scene. Only when the sun rose higher and the angle of light lifted from the water puddle did I move on. I felt different somehow for witnessing this brief dynamic of nature unfold before me. Winter was clawing at the door of Fall like our Westie claws at a mole hole-hoping to find his prize instantly only to be disappointed that it takes time for success to occur. I then drove to work hoping this colorful season would last a bit longer than expected. Winter can be so cold and drab. Strive to resist the exterior veneer of gloom…it has a way of creeping into one’s soul. Don’t let it in. Be positive, and reach out to another in need.