CONTRASTS

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The wheat is long gone-harvested in June. Barren fields now stand where the Staff of Life used to grow; ready to be plowed and replanted come late winter.

The deep blue skies and brilliant, cotton ball clouds yield to the darker grays of Autumn.

Contrasts are everywhere.

Trees shed their leaves while hedge rows bear their balls of fruit. Rains drench the good earth where wastelands once stood.

Calves are putting on fat for the winter while squirrels are busy hiding nuts for the long cold season ahead.

Contrasts are everywhere.

Birds of all sorts begin their yearly migration to warmer climates. Rodents dig deeper tunnels and store up food for the shut-in days of winter.

Even vehicles are ‘winterized’ in anticipation of frigid temperatures and people prepare for the cold by exchanging wardrobes. 

Contrasts are everywhere.

The last major hurricane, Michael, just made its way through Florida and up the eastern seaboard leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Too many lives are changed in a not-so-positive-way.

Communities gather together to respond to the crisis while strangers donate money and supplies to those they don’t know.

Contrasts are everywhere, and there is no way of escaping them. May we all engage them in a spirit of optimism and generosity. 

Change can be difficult, but also very rewarding. May it be so for each of us.

 

Misplaced ?

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Please excuse the poor quality of this photograph, and instead, focus on the subject matter. Next to the decoration with the red ribbon is one of our porch light fixtures (a bit dusty). It is approx. 5 feet above the landing. The light green siding is made of steel and is slick. Now for the anomaly of sorts…there is a black walnut balanced painstakingly between the light fixture wall base and the glass lens. We don’t have a black walnut tree in our yard, but a neighbor must. Nor do we have a ladder from the porch landing to the light fixture. So, how did the nut get there? And, why of all places was it placed there?

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My guess is this little guy leaped his way to the light fixture and neatly placed the walnut for future feeding. This is a typical gray squirrel which are super prevalent in this part of America. Some regions have brown, red and even black squirrels. We simply have an abundance of these fun critters. They bury all manner of seeds, fruits and other eatables all over the yard, in flower pots and even on light fixtures. When they go looking for them, the yard looks like a mine field with holes everywhere. It is especially nice when they rip out the flowers and vegetables from pots! It really doesn’t matter because they aren’t that big of a nuisance, unless you want to harvest the vegetables you planted in the garden. Carson can’t stand them. However, I enjoy watching them play as they chase each other across the yard, and up / down and through trees.

As we leave 2016 behind and embrace 2017, I hope whatever has been misplaced in your life will be found and put to good use again…or, at least enjoyed.

 

 

 

Up a Tree

We returned from Mexico (please see previous post) two nights ago. Cheryl had a wonderful trip, as did I. The timing, weather, sights and people were all terrific.

We did some different things this trip such as hike to the top of a jungle peak and rented a car to visit some coastal out-of-the-way towns near Puerto Vallarta. Also, we saw some unusual creatures in trees. Once you see one and start looking closely, you will see many more which were not previously perceptible. I am referring to Iguanas which come in different sizes and colors. Some are green with exceptionally long tails while others are an off-orange color with larger spikes on their backs. They all like to hang around in trees among the local bird population. They are sometimes referred to as chickens of the trees because there meat tastes like chicken-supposedly, even though their flesh is a reddish color. No, we didn’t try a plate of Iguana; we just read a lot about them.

Here is one photograph I hope you find as interesting to view as it was to witness in person. There were at least seven or eight iguanas we could see from this one spot. However, this guy gave us the best view to shoot, along with his feathered friends. It is worth enlarging!

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In The Palm of Your Hand

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If I could have the world and all it owns

A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones

If all the earth were mine to hold

With wealth my only goal

 

I’d spend my gold on selfish things

Without the love that Your life brings

Just a little bit more is all I’d need

Till life was torn from me

 

I’d rather be in the palm of Your hand

Though rich or poor I may be

Faith can see right through the circumstance

Sees the forest in spite of the trees

Your grace provides for me

 

If I should walk the streets, no place to sleep

No faith in promises You keep

I’d have no way to buy my bread

With a bottle for my bed

 

But if I trust in the One who died for me

Who shed His blood to set me free

If I live my life to trust in You

Your grace will see me through

 

I’d rather be in the palm of Your hand

Though rich or poor I may be

Faith can see through the circumstance

Sees the forest in spite of the trees

 

 

Sung beautifully by Alison Kraus

Music and lyrics by Ron Block

Photograph of Cheryl, Elliot & Carson

Inspiration from above

 

 

 

 

Quote & Pic of the Day, No. 18 of 24

Today is Arbor Day in America. Arbor Day first started in Nebraska on April 22, 1885 due to the efforts of a prominent pioneer, J. Sterling Morton, and his wife. The focus on tree planting caught on and Arbor Day became an official national observance on the last Friday of every April. Trees, trees and more trees make me happy…that is, until I have to trim them, rake their leaves, clean up after storms, etc. Otherwise, trees are a diverse wonderment. They provide shade, fruit, shelter from the elements, wood for building thousands of things, plus sheer beauty throughout every season.                  2-12-13f” The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now ”    Chinese Proverb

The Melt

2-21-15 011 I tried so hard, my dear, to show that you’re my every dream                Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme                      A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart                   Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me                 But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory                              The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart                       Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

Hank Williams, the legendary country singer, wrote and recorded this song, Cold Cold Heart, in 1951 (he was 27 and died two years later).  Rather than recite all four stanzas, I copied the first and the last. The two middle stanzas simply reveal more about the confusion and heartache expressed in these lyrics. As I gazed at the melting ice from our trees this past Saturday morning, I grabbed my camera and went outside to take several shots. For some reason this song-which I haven’t heard in years-came to mind. I suppose it may have been the cold temperatures finally warming and the melting ice which caused this song to arise to my consciousness. After some self-evaluation, I asked myself how do the lyrics of a sad ballad correlate to a beautiful act of nature…for it was a grand sight to witness the frozen tree branches shed their layer of ice and drip with the new life of cool water. The melting ice glittered like diamonds under spotlights!2-21-15 005Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I began to understand the link. There is beauty all around us, but at the same time there can be ugliness, pain and sorrow. Paradoxical, isn’t it? Joy and pain, beauty and the beast, clarity and confusion-all can co-exist. Where love is found, hate is not far behind. Where peace abounds, conflict can be just around the corner. And where some relationships nurture and grow, others can wilt and die on the vine. Such is the result of a fallen world. But, alas, our lives don’t have to exist in a state of bitterness, heartache, failure or confusion. True, these are our realities at times, but they don’t have to define us. I am not advocating that we ignore the negatives for that is wishful thinking. As difficult as it can be at times we must face the trials head on, hang on to an anchor of hope (for me this anchor is Christ) and endure. Strive to find beauty in this world, even when you feel abandoned, are depressed or lonely, are being seriously misunderstood or may be grieving. Light will shine again; hold on and wait for the melt.2-21-15 013