PINWHEEL

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A pinwheel by definition is “a child’s toy consisting of a stick with colored vanes that twirl in the wind”. They can be found across the globe. Parades and birthday parties are among the most popular places to find them. They are whimsical, fascinating to watch, and just plain fun. Their simplicity is partly what makes them so enjoyable…they can be made from paper and plastic or we can buy one for a small amount of money. A simple rush of wind is all it takes to make them spin. Yet, they are still popular after centuries of playful use!

This is nature’s pinwheel. Actually, one of many such flowers with this type of configuration. This is a Vinca flower which grows from a vine and is actually a ground covering. Simple, but lovely. I am always amazed as I witness something from nature which has been copied or imitated by man. Think of planes and birds, for instance. One cannot escape the resemblance nor the actual physics of both.

We, as humans, strive to become more intelligent and better than the generation before. We are on a constant quest to develop technologies which advance whatever field they may be in. This is natural, I suppose, however, let us not forget who is the Original Designer of all that is beautiful…God. To imitate Him is the supreme compliment.

Let us not forget this fact in our hast to rush ahead to the next ‘discovery’ or ‘cure’. Man is always a step behind. This is better than not being in line at all, though. I certainly am grateful that He allows us to explore His creation for the betterment of mankind. Enjoy the simplicity as well as the complexity of this world we have been given to protect and magnify. And, guard against those who would manipulate His creation for evil intent.

Dawn’s Light

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As the early morning light filtered through the leaves of our red maple tree and illuminated the wall, Carson was wakened from his slumber to greet the morning.

Now for a bit of breakfast followed by squirrel chasing, much sniffing around the trees, and a walk around the perimeter fence to look for intruders, it is time for another nap.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be Carson for a day!

Epilogue to Quotes & Pics

To each of you who read the selected quotes and viewed my photographs in this series entitled, Quotes & Pics, I sincerely want to say, ” thank you “. I am especially grateful to those who viewed every post and gave me consecutive thumbs up. That was very kind of you. Why an epilogue? Because I was surprised. Here I was accepting the creative funk that I was in (for which I had no explanation) and discovered that as soon as I began posting the quotations coupled with the photographs, I suddenly looked forward to doing so each day. I knew I was stuck and had simply hoped I would recapture the ability to creatively blog after this series was over…at least that was my thinking. I doubt I am alone when it comes to ‘hitting a wall ‘, although that doesn’t change anything. However, in the midst of this experience I learned something about myself.440I realize that I tend to take myself and what I do a bit too seriously at times, even though I enjoy injecting humor along the way. I also enjoy a good laugh which is oxymoronic to the seriousness I just described. So, with that stated, I will conclude with this image of one of my old buddies who didn’t find what he was looking for at the time, but has never been deterred from continuing to look beyond the obvious. Eventually, his persistence paid off, along with a change of scenery (or routine). This, I believe, is the answer I discovered in the process.

Coming of Age

The term Coming of Age is roughly translated to mean the period when a youth transitions into an adult. Ages vary from culture to culture, but the adolescent years are generally considered to be in-sync with this term. Sometimes this period is marked by special ceremonies which celebrate this passage from childhood to adulthood. However it is defined (or wherever) there is a universal sense about this period in one’s life. In America, many adults recall this season with fondness. Like the carnival sign below, very often our youth is remembered as a magic carpet ride, full of fun, fun, fun and zero difficulties or troublesome issues. That’s not exactly how I recall my youth, although there were plenty of fun times and the occasional magic.

The other morning – without any forethought – I began to think about this term which, in turn, took me back to my childhood, through my teen years and into the early adult years. Funny how the mind works sometimes because I can’t figure out what triggered this avalanche of mental images. Although this piece may seem like a vain trip down nostalgia’s road, this is not what I want to explore or present. Rather, I desire to probe the era where so much change occurred and I developed so many of my habits, convictions, perceptions and responses to life’s challenges. Perhaps some of my examples may resonate with you.

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My childhood years were pretty wonderful with few cares in my world. The only serious issues during this period were my asthma which put me in the hospital on a pretty consistent basis, and my mom’s second divorce. Life for me and my family wasn’t always easy, especially as we entered our second decade of living, and there were real hardships, and even dysfunction for a while, but mostly the memories are positive, and I count my blessings. Memories are powerful and can transform my mood in either direction. When the bad ones pop up, I strive to reject them so they won’t haunt me. When the good ones sprout I grab onto them and relish their soothing effect on my soul. Memories, moods and behavior are inseparably linked.

Enter adolescence with the exuberance and the baggage that comes with it. These are the years that most think about when a child develops into a young adult. Do you remember? Some days I would be on top of the world-I could hardly stand how great I felt- and other days I was so uncertain of myself and growing up that I barely coped. Mood swings, the blues, jumpin’ for joy at times, and periods of serious contemplation attended these lean years of growing up. Life seemed either superbly great or fearfully awful. Certainly there were many mundane days, but life as an adolescent seemed like an uncertain adventure most of the time.

Those were the days of close friendships and enemies; independence and peer pressure; standing tall and compromising; achieving and failing; caution and recklessness; confidence and self-doubting; dares and stupid follow-throughs; puberty, attractions, dating and lots of questions; first loves, first jobs, heartaches and disappointments; courage and fear; learning and repeating the same mistakes; muscle cars and fist fights; rock-n-roll and solitude; learning and ignoring; war and peace; politics-good and bad; Wide World of Sports and soap operas; bell bottoms, mini-skirts and ugly glasses; drugs and the war on drugs; family mealtimes and TV dinners; regular visits to the moon and ballistic missiles; peace rallies and riots; drag racing and getting caught; hanging out and clicks; drive-in movies and drinking. Yes, we had it all during my coming of age years, and I probably just touched the surface.

My later teen years morphed into the early twenties and shared some of the same dynamics as adolescence, but not nearly as extreme. Maturity began to overcome the child in me and what I learned actually made sense. I began to see the world in a different light and comprehended the vastness of the universe and complexities of life. There were many wonderful moments during these years, and there were just as many tough ones, but they all contributed to my development into the person I am today. During this period of my life I was similar to most other young persons, in that I thought I knew more than most adults-including my parents. You can laugh now! Time and the School of Hard Knocks have taught me the folly of such thinking.

It has occurred to me that our entire lives are really coming of age times. As we mature we become wiser, thereby reducing the mistakes, failures and mishaps. Obviously, we are never free of these negatives and their consequences. On the flip side, the positives and their consequences accompany us, as well. Each day…each year produces new experiences and sensations; some feel completely fresh and alive while others seem routine and pedestrian. Some are short-lived and others stretch-out for what seems to be too long. Regardless, we are still coming of age in the same way as when we experienced the transition from adolescence to adulthood. I believe the difference is one of perspective: the traditional concept is more or less age-based, while our current transitions are reflective-based. By that, I mean we transition from one level of understanding to another through the process of evaluating the past, present and future. We have a lifetime of experience and learning to fall back on. As we are constantly being presented with new and challenging concepts and situations, we can respond with increasing assurance.

What was once a mystery usually turns out to be a truth or a lie. Yet, some ambiguity remains in our lives because we live in a world with ever-changing dynamics. We are finite creatures with limitations which restrict our full understanding about everything we encounter. This frustrates many…the not knowing. That is not to say I turn my back on education; by no means! For each new day we probe deeper and deeper into the unknown, we discover abundant and new facts which challenge and change us. This is a wonderful thing about being human. However, we must not deceive ourselves into thinking we can know ‘it ‘ all…we will always be left wanting.

For me, the only constant is found in a God who was and is and always will be the same. This is my reality. I recognize it is not everyone’s. I find security in this truth, for no matter how much chaos surrounds me, I know God doesn’t panic or wring His hands wondering what will happen next. He has it all figured out for He is sovereign over all creation. Amazingly, all He asks of me is to simply trust Him. And, I do. Hopefully, you do, too. The ultimate coming of age will occur when I see His glorious face in the light of eternity.