Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's a mystery to me

If you've ever studied quantum physics you probably know that on the quantum level, we are all energy and information. All the molecules of our bodies vibrate in a quantum dance.

One of the books I read talked about how some people vibrate at a higher frequency than others. It gave Mother Teresa as an example.

It went on to say that we all vibrate at a higher frequency when we're happy, and lower when we're feeling sad or down. 

I'm not sure how much of this is scientific fact, and how much is new-age hooey, but I do know that when I'm in the company of someone truly happy, it lifts my spirits too. 

If this is true for people, I can't help believe that it's also true for society as a whole. 

I can't watch the news these days because it seems that each channel is in competition with the other to see which one can report the most depressing story.

How is it that a society can make such phenomenal progress in medicine, technology, communications, earth sciences, etc., and not learn how to somehow get along with each other?

It's a mystery to me.

A pumpkin for your thoughts

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sad garden

My garden is beginning to look sad. The heat over the past several weeks baked the earth. The soil here contains a lot of clay, so the surface of the garden is pretty much pottery. 

Water from the faucet doesn't seem to get deep enough to give the roots a drink. It keeps the plants alive, but not much more.

We still have a few tomatoes, okra, and pepper. But for some reason, scorching heat doesn't seem to bother pepper. But the pods are so hot they're almost inedible. Maybe that's a function of the seed, but I think the sun plays a role.

At any rate, this afternoon when I stepped down to pick a few tomatoes for supper, the evening sun played on the weeds growing in the border. The light caught my eye so I snapped a photo.

Tomorrow's Wednesday. I have an appointment to see the doc to see what's going on with my aching knees. I'm sure the treatment will involve needles as big as pencils. 

I'm excited.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The start of school ~ My Column from Sunday's paper

School starts back this week for many areas around the country, and I spent time reflecting about my early days in school. 

Some kids would rather step barefoot on a rusty nail than go back to school in August. Fortunately, the first bell didn’t ring until after Labor Day when I was a kid, and I was excited to begin my education.

My mom ordered most of my clothes from the Sears & Roebuck catalog, but the week before school started, she took me to town to pick up a few last-minute items. 

My new school booty included a football-shaped lunch kit and paste that smelled great, even though I suspect it was toxic. The metal scissors were sharp enough to lash off the fingers of a careless kid.

The pencil was my favorite. It was fat as a link sausage and each time I sharpened it, I could smell red cedar. It was a comforting smell, and holding it made me feel important. People wrote things down with pencils. Important things.

My mom wrote things down all the time. She had a notebook where she scribbled down recipes for confections, fruitcakes and good dishes she came across. She also wrote letters to family members who’d moved off up north. I think this fueled my love of writing.

Even though I was excited, it was scary at first. One kid cried from the time we got there until we left that afternoon. The teacher’s voice purred like a kitten trying to sooth his jangled nerves, but for him, school was too much too fast. 

My older brother Neil didn’t want to start to school either. He was chubby for his age and the overalls made him look even bigger. He was self-conscious by nature, so I can understand why he wasn’t excited about school.

He spent the first week of class under the train trestle that ran behind the old grammar school. He probably would have missed the whole year had a neighbor who’d walked the rails to town not seen him napping under the trestle. 

That first hooky experience didn’t turn out well for him once word got back to my mom.

What I remember most about the old school is how it smelled. The halls and classroom floors were made from heart pine. The maintenance guys used cottonseed oil to clean and preserve the wood. Even now, I can close my eyes and remember how they smelled.

The wainscoting on the walls reached up to my shoulder and was the color of tobacco. Once when I walked down the long hall alone, I could hear my footsteps echoing off the walls at the far end. 

The old clock that hung on the wall by the entryway looked as big as a refrigerator with hands that pointed to Roman Numerals. 

Mr. Evans was the principal the years I attended Dora Elementary. He wore thick black-framed glasses and bought a new Rambler automobile every few years. 

The teachers there were good ones and they laid the foundation for my education. I was happy there.

I hope years from now, the kids entering school can look back with fond memories of their first day of school. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The ocean

When doing yoga this morning on the deck, I had Pandora playing a meditation stream of music. One piece began with the sound of a gentle surf. 

The sound coming through those tiny speakers made me realize we haven't been to the ocean since January. We both miss it. There's something primal about that sound of surf on the sand. It's timeless and as the saying goes, "Is woven into the fabric of our lives."

Not long after Jilda and I started dating in the summer of 1969, her family went on vacation. She invited me down for the weekend. Not to stay with her, after all she was 16 years old and had parents who kept an eye out for rift-raft like me, especially those with skinny legs. 

Later when we married, we spent our honeymoon in a small cottage made of cement blocks which was a few hundred feet from the beach. At night, with a pallet on the screen porch, we fell asleep to the sound of the surf.

In Panama, I lived on a finger of land separating the Bay of Colon from the Atlantic Ocean. The barracks didn't have glass in the windows, only screen. My bunk was on the second floor. Each night I fell asleep to the sound of the surf on the breaker wall. During gentle seas, it was like a whisper that ebbed and flowed. On nights when the seas were angry, the surf sounded almost like thunder in the distance.

When we were newlyweds, we loved going to the ocean during summer, but we both looked much better in swimsuits then. 

These days we prefer to go to the ocean in autumn, or winter. The crowds have fled north leaving only snowbirds from Michigan and Canada. We fit right in with these folks. 

Jilda talked to her sister today and she's getting ready to head to the beach this week. We both were happy for her, but a little sad for ourselves. It's been too long since we've heard the sound of the surf.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Afternoon visitor

As Jilda and I sat reading and sipping green tea this afternoon, we had an afternoon visitor. This little doe wandered up in the yard and ate birdseed from our feeders. While she drank out of the birdbath, she looked through the glass curiously, as if to say, "What's for supper?"

She usually waits until nightfall because of the dogs. We can always tell when she visits because the feeders are licked clean. During this hot-dry spell, they usually drink the water from all our fountains at night.

We love watching our little visitors. A few days ago, about a dozen wild turkeys strolled through the garden long enough to munch corn. Later when we looked out, there were three young bucks dancing around.

I think they feel when it's time for the hunters, because they move deeper into the woods and you rarely catch a glimpse of them.
I'll miss them when they're gone.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A night for a quote

Since I got a break from jury duty today, my mind decided to take a break. I've tapped keys until I'm tired so I tonight seems like a great night for a quote about autumn which is just over four weeks away.

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Time is the most precious resource we have. It's more valuable than you car, your house, or the figures penciled in at the bottom of your checkbook register.

If you have time, most any possession can be replaced. Relationships can be mended. Wrongs can be set right. You can start anew.

But without time, the most valued possession will seem trite and insignificant. What good is a gold watch, if your life-long friend is estranged over something goofy, and won't be with you in an hour of need?

The only time we have is this moment. The last one is long gone and the next one we may never see.

Time. It's the most precious resource.

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