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 which “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.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

In a world that seems to have gone mad, much like millions thought during the world wars, it is often difficult to be happy. I mean really happy for an extended period of time; like for an entire summer. As I thought about all of the fighting, the political posturing, the violence, the poor and the refugees, the over-worked, ill and depressed, I wondered how many folk are truly happy. Without answering my own question, I decided to share a bit of nostalgia which resonated with me. For a moment, set aside all that hinders and relax as I share the following. Idyllic? Of course it is. Anyway, try to enjoy the moment.

1963 Dodge Dart

I bought this advertisement about a year ago at a garage sale for fifty cents. I thought it represented a snapshot of Americana during a more blissful-although imperfect-time. As you will note, this ad was meant to appeal to the white, middle class segment of the population at the time…1963 to be exact. The sixties was a decade of immense change in America. The younger generation wanted to separate themselves from their parent’s generation-and they did in many subtle, and sublime ways. Inequality among color and gender was brought to the forefront on a daily basis. Without boring you with the facts, I simply want to share a happy moment. The following lyrics were sung quite successfully by Nate King Cole, a black entertainer with a most beautiful voice. I urge you to YouTube his rendition of this song. BTW, he recorded it in 1963-the same year as this car ad!

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies; then lock the house up, now you’re set. And, on the beech you’ll see the girls in their bikinis; as cute as ever but they never get ’em wet.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and the moon and sing a song of cheer.

Don’t hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in; or some romantic moon it seems. Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin’; you’ll see more kissin’ in the cars than on the screen.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.

You’ll wish that summer could always be here; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.

 

 

Dreaming of Summer

The absence of zinnias, monarchs, and vibrant greens make me long for summer. So, I decided to reveal some color to offset the dull hues of winter’s landscape. Not that winter can’t be beautiful, especially in the mountains, but here we have had little snow or color-just drab days and cold nights. Here are a few images taken last summer in our flower garden. There are so many more to reveal, but less is usually best. Think warm!
Monarchs & Zinnias c 9-18-11Monarchs & Zinnias h 9-18-11Monarchs & Zinnias a 9-18-11

Color My World

Fall Flowers 9-30-13The senses, especially our eyes, are treated to an explosion of color when the season changes from summer to fall. The foliage in our area is late this year to turning various shades of color due to milder than usual weather conditions. However, two weekends ago I was treated to this vivid reminder of how beautiful Autumn is (and will be). The subject matter is not extraordinary, but merely a potted plant at a local hardware store. The photo was taken with my Samsung’s camera. No enhancement was performed, and that’s the beauty of this image. It’s pure natural delight!Last Rose of Summer (Cheryl, 9-11-13)In contrast to the first image with the noticeable fall-like colors of ambers, oranges and such is this simple rose. Cheryl named this bloom The Last Rose of Summer (at the time she took this photo it was the last rose in her flower garden). The vibrant red petals and striking green leaves contrast sharply with the variegated plant above, yet both reveal the magnificence of nature’s glory. Soon, the trees and vines will burst into myriad colors, like a fireworks display, and the grass will give way to a carpet of leaves. The smell of burning wood will waft over us like perfume and wild animals everywhere will be scurrying about in preparation for winter. Football is in full force, and The Boys of Summer are playing like there is no tomorrow. A stroll in the woods can become a nostalgic vehicle for memories of carefree days when youth was innocent and the great outdoors was a giant playground.9-4-13 002 Speaking of vehicles, I couldn’t resist.

CICADAS

Prehistoric ?Summer in the midwest transforms the natural landscape into a region of lush vegetation with abundant weeds and wildflowers accompanied by hot temperatures, and occasional tornadoes. Summer warmth ushers in the return of many bird species and butterflies. This season also awakens snakes of all sorts, mosquitoes & ticks, and cicadas-just to name a few.

If you would indulge me for a moment, I would like to focus on the cicada which is a most unusual looking insect with a most annoying ‘song’ that is produced by the rubbing of body parts. It was this song from a choir of cicadas a few evenings ago that inspired this brief post. For reasons unknown to me there are  considerably larger amounts of these insects in the branches of our beautiful red maple tree which stands adjacent to our deck, and which provides much-needed shade. This tree has always been a home to the cicada, but 2013 has produced a bumper crop!

20130726_195621The cicada lays her eggs in tree branches and after the eggs hatch the termite-looking insect bores into the earth in search of nutrients. Over a period of two to seventeen years (depending on the species) this stage of the cicada develops into a nymph. At this time the cicada bores out of the ground and climbs onto the trunk or branch of a tree. It then sheds its outer shell-like covering to reveal a prehistoric looking, winged creature. These insects are quite harmless with the only threat being their incessant ‘song’. From a distance the undulating sounds of cicadas in harmony is soothing and reminds me that summer is in full swing. However, when they ‘sing’ within a few yards from where one is sitting or standing, the noise can be deafening. Too long of exposure can lead to headaches…or worse!

There are over 170 varieties of cicadas in the United States, and over 2000 worldwide. Common, to be sure, and an integral member of nature’s food chain-cicadas are as much a part of summer as parades, BBQs, watermelon and apple pie at picnics. Annoying, but essential, the cicada would be missed if they were to disappear. As can be seen from these photos (taken with my Samsung phone), cicadas are a most bizarre insect. Summer wouldn’t be the same without them…preferrably at a distance! Now, where are my ear plugs?20130727_173609