Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

NINE OF HIM WOULD’VE MADE A DOZEN

August 8, 2017

“Nine of him would have made a dozen!”  

What better way to describe a big brawny man!    Most especially it’s a term of appreciation to say that about a man who is helping you out on a particularly tough physical job – and is  more than adequate for the task.

It’s from a book I’m reading.     A western.

Everything is pointing me westward this month.   I finished a small grocery trip and pulled out of the parking lot,  looking for traffic, towards the west —

Sunset at Tom's 370

A surprising splash of color from the west  flowing down the street.

This book I’m reading is a twentieth century western, takes place in Montana,  and from what I’ve seen the West is still out there like that in Montana.    The author has a way with words that make me laugh right out loud or make some noise of delight once or twice on every page,  and it was actually his description of the mountains that made me think of my own trip westward in the last post I wrote.

I forgot to write it down in the last post,  but I think this little passage is worth thinking about.

The story is told from the point of view of a fourteen year old boy  one summer- and I think I nearly know what it’s like to feel like him, near as I could.    Going up farther into the mountains to count sheep for his ranger father,  he looked out the window one morning to see what kind of day it would be:

“First thing,  I made a beeline to the window.  . .  Roman Reef and all the peaks south beyond it stood in the sun, as if the little square of window had been made into a summer picture of the Alps.  It still floors me how the mountains are not the same any two days in a row,  as if hundreds of copies of those mountains exist and each dawn brings in a fresh one, of new color, new prominence of some feature over the others, a different wrapping of cloud or rinse of the sun for this day’s version.”

That’s what got me thinking about my upcoming journey, because I’ve driven this way many times in the past,  but I get up over into Wyoming, and I always gasp – right out loud,  and more than once, as I drive over each rise and see another glorious vista.  But each time I see these same mountain ranges,  they do seem to be a new, different,  more wonderful version of those mountains I thought I remembered.

And then, out again in the mountains by himself, the young man experiences those “twin feelings of aloneness and freedom . . .”    I’ve felt that too, out there.  I was where I shouldn’t have been, alone at least,   but alone I was for many hours,  somewhat lost for a while, and yet so free . . .  all by myself.

The book also described a perfect Montana Fourth of July,  picnic, square dancing,  and rodeo.   I can tell you I was tired by the end of all that activity!    It will be a little snapshot of a perfect Fourth of July for the young man in the story, and I’m glad to have shared his experience.    As he thinks over the day, the author says:  “It was a set of hours worth the price of the rest of your life.”

All in all,  it’s out West that I’ve known  one corner of this  immense planet and felt that great aloneness,   I’m a simple speck next to the infinite iterations of mountains and prairies.

Just a tiny little speck of life on a home planet that presents  endless scenes of majesty – and yet both are a reflection of the infinite power and glory of their Creator.

 

book

Travel West.  Think big!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL MODE

August 7, 2017

Well,  I’ve been observing a lot.  I have a lot to write about . . . .

But it seems I’ve entered travel mode now.    That means I will be distracted (and scatterbrained)    and overly excited  (Wow!  I have 5,000 miles of road ahead of me!!!!)  and overly-dramatic  (I won’t know if I make it back home until I get back home)   and indecisive (what all should I be taking with me?)  and should I plan everything or just be spontaneous   (and trust there’ll be a hotel room available in the evening)?

Anyway,  I’ll try not to be absent from The Spruce Tunnel . . . .

First stop?

eclipse

Under that.   I know when,  I just don’t know where.   Yet.

Of course visiting Cooper is my main destination . . .   This is  just outside his front yard.    He calls it his “beautiful lake”  and I hear he has lots of plans for me.   In the lake.

Shaffer Summer 300

But I’m very much in need of some other mountains.  Not Cooper’s Sierras;    but these:

 

wy mt stretch

Mountains with wide open spaces!.  You have no idea of how much land you’re looking at,  not even when you’re driving there.

I’m supposed to “promise” that I won’t keep taking pictures while I’m driving.

I’ll be driving through some of my favorite towns too:

wyoming civilizaiton

Hubbie used to ask me why I keep taking so many photos as we would drive through the mountains.  He said they all look the same!     Well,  he’s a creature of the deep dark  northern forests.   He thinks trees look all different.

When  I was young my Mom used to “torture” me – and herself –  by asking the question:    “Which would you rather live near,  the mountains or the ocean?”     It was a game,  but we’d think so seriously and discuss our answers.   I was always unsettled by my final  answer,  because . . .  “neither” wasn’t an option.

Hubbie’s forests are very scary,  because you feel closed in tight by the trees.     Mom’s mountain preference made me feel closed in because you can’t see much horizon.   The ocean gives me claustrophobia  because it’s  a foreign environment  full of dangerous, unseen creatures and its powerful waves threaten to close in on you.

So. . .  what can I say?     I like seeing forests, mountains, and oceans,  but I spent my childhood  on the edge of the Illinois prairie.  You could look  out forever and see endless sky and endless horizon.     You stand tall on the solid ground.

If you have the choice to travel or not to travel,  choose travel!     Not the airplane kind,  skimming over everything,  but driving,   really getting into it,  living through all the scenery our country has to offer.

Maybe then you’d know how to answer my Mom’s question.

 

 

A MOM’S MIND AT WORK

August 5, 2017

(Hyberbole:  my favorite form of humor)

The last few posts have been about  huge problems “way out there.”      I’m returning now closer to home,  closer to the Spruce Tunnel.   

Or maybe not.

Alaska where cooper is

See that tiny little huge cruise ship in the middle of the Alaskan mountain fjord?   Well, my loved ones are on board, including my little grandson Cooper.  So tiny in a big wide world.

al overboard   On their first day I woke up  with a flash of a very vivid picture:  it was Cooper going over the railings of the ship,   plunging into the waters below.    It was a huge panicky kick in the stomach.     And before I could catch my breath,   there was Cooper’s Daddy taking a running leap over the rails to save his son . . .

(Not a good way to wake up in the morning.)

They sent me some photos.  Want to know what goes on in a Mom’s Mind when you’re out having your adventures?

Alaska Stream 300

Here are Cooper and Daddy,  halfway into their Denali adventure,  standing next to a pretty little stream . . .

. . .  Along with a little wildlife, also enjoying the stream and watching for whatever they can find in the stream:

Alaskagrizzlies watching mountains

It’s an Alaskan stream.   Close enough.

I hope those grizzlies know what else is available in that stream:

Alaska Salmon 260

I think my little family was standing too close to all those delicious salmon when they took this photo.

I asked Cooper if he knew what an iceberg is.  He told me he thinks it’s something like a big floating island made of ice.    And clearly that didn’t make any sense to him.   I told him it was more like a river of ice that flows between the mountains.

AlaskaGlacier River

Pretty big river,  pretty small ship.    But I think the river of ice  idea made some sense to him.   After all,  his home is on a lake between very high mountains.

The icebergs make a very big splash when they crack off –

Alaska Berg 360

They’re pretty close to this one that’s about to “crack off.”      A very big splash for a very little cruise ship.

Then I got this picture, very small size on my cell phone,  no explanation.     But it looked to me like Daddy got captured by some wild Alaskan mountain men and strung up between the trees   . . .

Alaska Zipline 290

Except that might be a smile on his face.

I just know I’m going to be getting some more photos.

One mother’s  (one grandmother’s)   worries, even though I’m pretty sure they are safe.    I worry about them all because I know how precious and vulnerable they are.   Family is pretty close to home, close to heart,  and everyone is part of someone’s family.   That’s how a Mom’s Mind works too.

I think that’s why I was writing  all those recent posts about the current development of an all-powerful State that will rule every aspect of our lives and negatively affect not only us as individuals, but our loved ones too.

“Big Brother evolves.”

 

al sky bots

e v o l u t i o n

If Artificial Intelligence trumps human intelligence,  then we and the ones we love will become little more than (dehumanized)  human resources to manage and manipulate in whatever ways are best for the system.

We’d better start there,  with the certain knowledge of the dignity and worth of every form of human life.  Each individual specially created and loved by the Creator.   No one can be discarded without greatly offending the One who made him.

al gr gr

As the decades roll past,  and you have fewer years ahead of you than behind you,   everything that you thought was important drops off until what you have left is  Love —    ideally,  the love God gives you to love Him, to love your family,  and to love yourself.

 

“Faith, hope, and love;  and the greatest of these  is love,”  right?    That’s instruction from the Bible.

Bible Rosary and Glasses 270

When you leave this earth and see God,  you’ll have no more need of “faith” in Him.   You will have no more need to hope in Him for your safety;  He’s right there, and you are safe  with Him.

But the Love will only increase exponentially, even beyond what we can imagine now.

 

 

QUETZACOATL, ET AL.

July 30, 2017

Westward,  ho!!!   On the trail of Quetzacoatlus,  the winged . . .  serpenty thing.

quetzalcoatlus

 

I know I should say that  the greatest “draw”  for me as I prepare my westward journey is my grandson, Cooper.    And my daughter.  And my son-in-law.    But . . .   I know me.

There’s another:

nodosaur-fossils-close-up-ridges.adapt.1900.1

It is one of the most exciting and recent fossil discoveries!!!  This fossil shows us the skin, the ridges, the scales, and the feathers of a nodosaur, a reptilian-serpenty thing..

I’ll show you the head in a minute,  but, first, a few comments — and I’m gong to be very, very sketchy and abbreviated in my words.  You’ve either speculated on this stuff, or you haven’t.

Here’s another view of the Quetzacoatlus:

quetz atlus

They’re winged,  they’re  feathered (more feathers than this artist gave them) , and they  perhaps fly.

The Native peoples of Mexico await the return of the Winged Serpent, whom they call Quetzacoatl.    Snouted, not beaked.  (Taxonomers seem not to care.)

quetz in stone

Interaction with human beings.    Forbidden interaction.

quetx in curves

Who is that Nachosh spoken of in the Bible;  that Shining One;  that Reptilian-Serpent Thing that interacted with the first humans in their protective Garden?

qu shining

Forbidden.     Deadly.

Quetxacoatl again –  (also known as the head of a nodosaur)  —

nodosaur head

What are these things and when did they live –   and what is this . . .  interaction?   It was a time not made for human beings.      But forbidden spiritual interaction is not my point today.    And there’s plenty of evidence for the physical interaction of humans and “dinosaurs”  depicted in artwork:  pictures,  objects (like ancient little toy dinosaurs),  and in weaving and sculpture.   But that’s not my point today either.

It’s this —  Fossils and Footprints!

Man n Din

 

That’s a MAN  lying in a dinosaur FOOTPRINT!   The silhouette of the dinosaur is below the photo, and the silhouette of the man is that teeny thing under the tail!

More three-toes dinosaurs,  smaller ones:

hand in print

One time I was in Carson City NV with Cooper,  in the dinosaur display room in a children’s museum.     At two and a half years old,  I wasn’t sure if he understood why I was so excited about seeing the display of three large dinosaur footprints.    He didn’t say much,  but he walked away,  came back with three little plastic toy dinosaurs,  and he placed one toy dinosaur in each footprint.

He got it.

So, yes,  “westward”   —  into dinosaur country.   I’ve got my  route planned from museum to museum!

_____________________________________

 

Here’s a footnote to the Michael Crichton book I wrote about yesterday,  just to be honest:   The main character about whom the story is told —  didn’t exist, much to my surprise.   The   minor characters who were paleontologists did exist:  Professors Cope and Marsh —  and, of course,  Wyatt and Morgan Earp and assorted famous outlaws.

The places in the book Dragon Teeth  really exist too.  I’ve been to many of them, and reading this book was like having a movie played before my eyes.

Reading and living!

I’d like more of both,  God willing.

 

_________________________________________________

.*   To enjoy some quite plausible speculation,  you can’t do better than the series called “West of Eden.”   (Although I suspect modern “environmentalists”  would not be on the side of the humans.”    It’s a clear clash of technologies.)

 

WHY I DON’T FLY – A JUSTIFIED RANT

October 21, 2016

I’ve been sitting on this story for a long time, and although there’s no reason to bring it up now, I just want to stop seeing these photos on my Desktop.

bar-dissolve-er

We all know that a totalitarian mentality  is rising, and rising faster and faster now.   In this country,  if you don’t agree with the political party of The Poor Sick Woman, HRC  (H.er R.oyal C.lintoness),  then you get shut down, mocked, marginalized,  attacked –  sometimes physically.     (see next  post)     The Extreme Leftists always need to shut down their opposition.

Ubiquitous surveillance.    Stifling over-regulation.    Enforcement of politically correct speech.    “Watch what your neighbor is doing – if you see something, say something.”

In 1917 the world was warned about “the errors of Russia”  being spread throughout the whole world.   It’s not the Russian people,  it was the system of  dictatorial atheistic materialism that was being set up in their country at the time.

russias-three-guys

Hard to believe these three old guys have such an influence on us today,  via Saul Alinsky and his disciples,  the Barack Hussein person in American and HRC who wants his power.

Impossible to believe at one time in America,  but then George Orwell wrote a description of the future based upon what he saw developing.   He was not just a writer,  his political position gave him an inside view of their plans.    His words:

jackboot

He used the image of jackboots to tell us what living under a totalitarian system would be like.

How on earth could that ever  develop here?    My Grandmother believed it could.   It happened in her native country.     And in America, her generation and my father’s generation knew that we needed to be Vigilant, or it could happen here.

planeother.jpg

So, I’m being vigilant –  and I’m not going to submit to certain evidences of increasing totalitarianism, where we are slowly  being trained to comply with unreasonably intrusive and slave-like orders from a system which has been proven time and time again to be ineffective!

I’ve written elsewhere about the “naked-body”  viewing machines which you are encouraged to stand in and pose.  I’ve written before about how TSA agents have been caught downloading certain “interesting”  still shots of people’s bodies,  taking them to their home computers,  trading them with other agents,  selling them,  and even using them to humiliate their co-workers who have gone through the machines.    Caught.   Caught and prosecuted.     It happens.

Our naked bodies are NOT for the Authorities to view –  like we were on some sort of Roman slave block:

slavery-sale-in-rome

I used to be a teacher –  of elementary schoolchildren.  One thing we all taught the children was something called Stranger Danger.   Don’t let a stranger Touch you – Don’t let a stranger Touch you in your private parts . . .

slavery-tsa-child-porn

So . . .   now what?   Don’t let a stranger touch you in your private places – except when our Rulers want to?     What body part is that woman with a blue glove feeling for?  I’m furious when I read the numerous stories of children separated from their parents,  frightened to death by what they know is Wrong Touches,   children video’d by onlookers or their outraged parents as their children are sexually touched at airports –

And  their fathers and other good, decent men have to “stand still”  while they’re groped.

slavery-pervert-patdown

And the mothers, sisters,  daughters,  and good decent, modest women have to endure –  anything.

slavery-no

I know.  I’ve experienced “pat down”  groping sessions at airports.     My body can still feel those  intrusive personal gropings,  worse than pictured here,  and it still registers  a disgusted shuddering when I remember, and then remember  especially the look of Complete Power in the eyes of one of those . . .  females.   I was in grave danger there, had I protested.

But this challenge to our personal dignity is a deliberate conditioning of citizens to submit   to outrages from Authority figures everywhere.     This was taken by someone shaken up before a football game:

slavery-nfl-pervert-patdown

Where did all the Americans go?     The land of the free and the home of the brave?      What kind of men allow this to happen to themselves, and especially to their wives?  Their sisters?  Their own mothers!

As a society we have no perspective on this because   it doesn’t happen to everyone and it doesn’t happen all the time.     It crept up on us slowly, and we were deliberately distracted by  a manufactured hysteria over future “attacks.”    Submit!!   Submit and be Safe!!!

Could another attack happen?    Of course.      Do we bend over and let the jackboots kick away our dignity?

Um . . .   ask George Orwell.     Ask any Extreme Leftist who must be in complete control of the population.   Ask anyone who tried to oppose the rising totalitarian mentality.

I’m doing my part – I’m avoiding submission to illegitimate Authority.   I will travel by car  until they put up checkpoints at state lines.

This coming election is more serious than we realize.

Vote.     But read 1984 first.        Or we will sell our souls to the jackboots.

DESTINATION – WHERE HIAWATHA LIVES

July 21, 2016

The Spruce Tunnel has reported many times that our Land,  this USA, is so empty.  One can drive for hours without seeing anyone, and many times during this past week I’ve been the only car in my lane for a half hour, sometimes  an hour at a time:

Hour W out cars

HIAWATHA’S LAND:

But it  is  beautiful in the Far Far North where Hiawatha lived (lives).

GG Driving Island  Sunlight through the forest,  Nature speaks deep within you with concepts of Beauty:   colors, pleasing proportions,  compositions, contrasts, harmony . . .  all the classic elements of Beauty, which testifies to its Creator.

GG Driving 2 400

Curve after curve,  Hiawatha’s forest views.

But of course he didn’t have a car to ride in!  So I went into the forest –

GG Forest floor 400

Ferns on the forest floor.    Easy walking, because ferns aren’t really thick underbrush.  They’re very soft when you walk through them.

GG Forest path and wild 400I found pathways.   I’ve walked miles along these pathways during this past week.   All the time I was thinking about Hiawatha’s small village,  one of many, many, maybe countless villages that existed throughout this Land.    Many millions of people lived in this Land, long before the Vikings and the Italian exploreres came to it.

I kept “seeing”  these villages:

BR new goods

And wondering who was “seeing” me:

BR coming

Hiawatha’s forest was not only a location, of course,  an “address” for his home;  it also gave to them everything needed to sustain life.

GG Forest Deer 400I drove by these deer one afternoon.   Probably descendants of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century deer that provided many necessities for Hiawatha and his people.

I couldn’t help taking a picture of this:

GG Forest Birch

We all know that the white birch  has bark that is stripped off to make canoes.  What I learned this time is that each strip of bark has five, six, or seven layers, and each thin layer is waterproof and very strong,  perfect for making  a lake or river canoe, among other things.

GG Canoes from Birch When I was a child I tried making a small toy boat with birch bark.  I also tried making “paper”  with the birch bark.   I failed.   I really didn’t know about the “layers”  in a strip of birch.

But it was important to know these things for Hiawatha because his land borders the Great Gitche Gumme,  and I walked many pathways to get to that Lake.

GG Forest Edge Path 400

If you could see across that Lake,  you would see the shores of Canada.

Gitche Gumme claims the land, in a constant tussle between land and water.

GG Forest Edgge Dropoff 400

The pathway along the edge seemed to be about a half mile long.  Finally,  I got to my destination,  the destination for this whole week-long, more-than-400-mile journey:

Black Rocks 400

It’s here.  This was my destination.    It’s an area called Black Rocks,  a singularly unromantic name for an outcropping of “rock”  that is estimated to be 1.3 billion years old.  This is some of the oldest known rocks on the surface of the earth.

On the shores of Gitche Gumme
By the shining Big-Sea-Waters

Yeah,  here is where I needed to be,  I thought.    These were the first waters I saw at the very beginning of my life . . .  and now,  with the end in view,   I needed to see these waters again.

Black Rocks into lake.

It was the end of land of the Far Far North in view, anyway.

Black Rocks far 400I climbed all around Black Rocks,  and finally looked for a place to sit.

Black Rocks Seat

And I did it.   I found a good rock ledge to sit on and I put my camera away, and then I began to . . .  well,  brood.   I divided my life into five-year segments . . . .

And, well . . .  with each and every scene from my memory huge wounds of negative emotions leapt out at me.    Private, powerful emotions.

It would have been tough that day . . .  it would have been a tough whole life . . .  but for one thing.     With each sudden emotional blow,  I asked myself,   “Well,  what did God want me to learn from this hardness?”     And why is it that each emotional “blow” I felt seemed really rather feeble in my memory?    And how is it that I’m not unhappy,  but indeed,  full of hope and joy and love for those whom I know?

“What did God want me to learn…?”    There was a lesson in each stage of my life.   I suppose.    But I wasn’t that broody, actually.   I probably was taught something during each stage, and then incorporated the learning into my assurance that God was in control.

And so I don’t need to know any “answers.”  I don’t need to come to any conclusions.

What I learned from my brief three hours of “brooding”  sitting on those rather hard rocks is that,  in a big way,  I’m not that baby,  that toddler, that child,   that adolescent,  that young adult . . .  anymore.

I am “me”  only in this Present Moment.  That’s all I ever can be:  Me  Now.     I am identified by what I am Now.

In a big way,   what matters is what kind of person I am Now.

Forgiveness  and Forgetfulness available for the past;   hope and healing available for the future.

That’s the way Gitche Manito works.   Ever Present- Ever Now.     What’s NOT to be joyful about?!

I think I actually did reach my “destination.”

Deo gratias.

 

(Next post:  Why Hiawatha knew this too.)

EN ROUTE TO GITCH GUMME

July 15, 2016

They say “getting there is half the fun.”    Remember that when you’re doing the tedious activity of actually “getting there.”

Still, there is the reward of stunning beauty along the way.

Lk MI Overlk island

It’s the deep blues that speak to me.

I counted six different and distinct blues in this view:  navy blue,  deep blue,  powder blue,  aquamarine, turquoise,   and blues I don’t even have a name for but my grandma, whose first language was Finnish,  says there are many, many names for blue. As a little girl she was surprised that we, in this country, didn’t know them all!

Hope my camera is up to the challenge.

Lk MI Overlook

At the top left of the picture is the tip of that island and a surf or shallow point that had stunning robin’s egg blue water.

I can “feel” why blue is one of the colors associated with Heaven.   Remember, classically,  our forefathers teach us that there are three heavens seen from Earth:

  1.   the heavens where the birds fly
  2.   the heavens where the stars (and galaxies and all the heavenly bodies)  exist
  3.  the Heaven where God is, as well as all those holy beings which are fit to be with Him

Poets, artists,  scientists,  parents, theologians, and revelations from Heavenly beings all speak of one or the other of these heavens.   It’s good to be smart enough to distinguish the various meaning of “heaven.”

It’s also good to enjoy all the Blues we are given – and to thank our Creator for the ability to see and enjoy Blue!

Here is a painting of “Hiawatha”:

Hiawatha in canoe

And here is a picture of his “creator,”  the poet,  Longfellow,  one of those Poets who wrote of the heavens.

HW Longfellow

 

I’m on their trail.

GITCHE GUMEE

July 12, 2016

Gitche Gumee.        For real.     It really exists.

gitch waters

In the days when American children and young adults were taught American literature,   the words “Gitche Gumee”  would be a familiar sound;   lovely, fetching, longing . . . .a song of roots and courage and duty;   a song of love for the land and union with the earth and its people.

I’ll be there soon.      Not in a boat,  but  h e r e –   looking out over  Gitche Gumee:

gitch 3 blue

I have many decades behind me,  and the “storms” of life have  “ruffled my feathers”  – as is true for all of us.   We’ve all had waves crashing against us.

gitch 5 waves

 

I need to sort things out.    I was born here,  long ago.     It’s possible that the very first sight my newborn eyes saw was this Great Lake, as my nurse carried me outdoors, into the car, into my Mother’s waiting arms.

I need to see this again.

I need to get strong and steady before the storm breaks over us all.

New Haven Lighthouse storm

 

I need to get in touch with myself,  see who I really am, see what “I’ve done and what I’ve left undone.”          Hopefully, I’ll gain wisdom like  Nokomis.

 

On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O’er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.
  Fiercely the red sun descending
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him,
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail;

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Thanks for the words.

 

 

 

 

;

THE DAY I THOUGHT I KILLED MY DAD

June 9, 2016

Well, it’s been 60 degrees inside my house for the past couple days.    I feel the cool air more when I move through it.    If I keep moving, of course, I warm up, but my first inclination is to find a nice cozy quilt-cave to wait out this cold spell.    (Was  it just yesterday that I called my goldfish the Sissies?)

So,  me –

ME

It’s fleece jackets, quilts, and books for me for a while.   And thinking.  (If you lived in my head, I think . . .  I really think you’d have a lot of fun.)

The thinking that my mind does comes from many angles, and sometimes the thoughts converge.     Today:  (1)  –  It’s Thursday, and I’m reminded by my common daily prayers that this is the day of the week that the Last Supper occurred;  and Christ told us:  “This is My Body.”   and then (2)   just a week or so ago was the Feast Day of Corpus Christi,  reminding us to think about  what This Is My Body really means.    And (3)   Thursday leads to Friday, the day which Jesus actually gave His “broken” Body in self-sacrifice for us . . .  which leads to Saturday,  Our Lady’s Day, alone with her thoughts,    and then Sunday . . . what it was all for.

Thursday to Friday to Saturday to Sunday . . .

Like climbing a  beautiful mountain,  beginning with Thursday leading all the way up to the summit of Sunday!       (Because we don’t just “remember”  these things;  we’re supposed to internalize them in amazed wonder . . .  and gratitude, if we really understand everything.     I’m running out of years, Dear Readers,  to get this right.)

(4)   So – my Dad?   My poor Dad?

A long, long time ago I enrolled in Arizona State University.  Wa-a-a-a-y   across the country.     My parents,  in a surprising gesture of generosity,  offered to drive me out there — because they needed to see that part of the country too.

LP  station wagon cr

I was 19 years old and the proud  “owner”  of two baby sisters, 2 and 4 years old that year.

We posed them in front of all the interesting scenery during that trip.

LP  sisters i front cr

I put them on top of everything,  so I could take their picture;  rocks, barrels, roadside signs,  touristy objects,   fake mules  :

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And we, the whole family,  traveled through strange-looking territory:

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Funny,  I do actually remember taking all these photos.   Like the proverbial  yesterday.

My Mom was often busy taking care of the little ones,  and that left my Dad and me free to explore the sites more intensely.      We were strong and adventurous.     I was 19, as I said,  and my Dad was an “impossibly” young 38 years old.

I thought he was invincible.

Somewhere along the trip we came to Long’s Peak, Colorado.      14259 ft.

Long's Peak

And there were signs all over about Hiking Trails and Climbing Long’s Peak —  and it sounded like a good adventure.     I don’t know if we went right to the very peak, where the mountain comes to a small point,  but we came pretty close.   I remember seeing signs for  “12,000”  feet and then “13,000”  feet, with arrows pointing onward and upward.

Here,  if you want to do it:

Long's Peak Trail

At about that 12,000 feet sign my Dad said something I thought I’d never hear him say:  “Let’s  stop and rest for a  little while.”

Oh, sure –  a chance for me to take lots of photos!      But my Dad didn’t.

And then, we went farther on,  higher and higher … until my Dad said something again.   Something like “Do you think we’ve gone far enough?”    He  sounded very much out of breath.

(Something I understand now whenever I visit my grandchild who lives  in the high altitudes of the Sierras.)

I said I wanted to take his picture, a photo of his accomplishment, so he put on a smile:

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Right after that photo,  he plopped down hard on the ground – and shook his head in a rather frightening way but he didn’t say anything.   And I looked at him and he looked kind of funny.   The skin on his face was blotchy, white patches and red patches.  I’ll never forget those colors.

We had climbed longer and farther than most of the other people on the mountain that day.     It occurred to me that my Dad was in trouble and there was no way I could get him down the mountain and back to our car by myself.    My mind just went blank at the thought that my hiking enthusiasm  … might … have ….   killed him!

I should have been watching over him!   I should have been aware!

Well, he recovered.   He was young and strong – Viking stock.    We made it downhill and back to my rather concerned young mother . . . .

My Dad and I have talked about this incident occasionally.   He remembers how he felt,   but most of all what he remembers, and what he talks about,  was how glorious it was near the top of Long’s Peak.   What magnificent scenery.   How  beautiful, how lovely —  an amazing, thrilling adventure with no regrets.   And he was glad I had gone with him!

Climbing a mountain –   like  Thursday, Friday,  Saturday, and Sunday.

Honestly –  the thrill is so similar.  So real.   so life-and-death.

LESSONS IN SMALL WONDERS

May 10, 2016

(continuing adventures in Indiana)

Wonder is the happy astonishment at what comes before you, either an occurrence, a sight,  a word.
It is happy because it increases  intellectual pleasure of a new insight  and at the same time it’s  delightful to the senses.
It is an astonishment because it came to you through no effort of your own.   It’s a bit humbling.      It came from some place higher,  a Higher Power, a Higher Force, a Higher Person, and it was gifted to you because Goodness and Good Pleasures draw you to Him.
    Therefore, wonderment is an act of Love from your God to attract you to Him – and as such,  a created being responds with humility, awe, love, and gratitude.
I’m writing about “Small”  Wonders,  because Our Lord God said:  Unless you become as a little child,  you won’t see . . .  (see the Kingdom of Heaven,  now and forever.)    You must have in you a childlike openness to Wonder.
Wonderment is available to all ages, races, material circumstances, conditions,  and geographical locations!     All you have to be is a created human being.

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Four-Storied Children’s Museum

I could tell you about all  our adventures at the Terre Haute, Indiana,  Children’s Museum,  but you, like me,  have probably seen children’s museums:    “been there, done that.”     I went because Cooper, my grandson,  wanted to go  (and so did his Daddy, actually).    I confess  I was prepared to be  slightly bored.

But I have some photos –   and after pondering them in The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  they became  lessons to myself.

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There were stars to learn about, of course.  The picture on the back wall of the display is easily recognizable as Ursa Major – you can see it every clear night – and only in the Northern Hemisphere!      But the bigger white dots are a representation of the stars as they actually exist in space, relative to each other.

So – from another perspective,  say if our space ship were coming in from a different angle,  it wouldn’t be a big bear (or a Big Dipper)  at all!

Nor would it have entered our minds to even think about grouping these stars together to make a picture of a familiar (earthly) object.

The Ancients knew,  the Greeks scientists knew,  the  Church philosophers knew,  they all knew that Mankind is only a small speck within a vast cosmos.   And they wondered at it!   Humans have dignity and infinite value only because God made us and cares for us.  And that’s a wonder too.

As a corollary:     It is another kind of wonder that Modern Man thinks he is the sum and summit of knowledge and importance;  and so much so that his reasoning must be separated from Faith and his attempts at science must be separated from the vast scientific learning of the Church.  

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The museum had a Weather Station –  fun for me and Cooper,  except I love thunder and he doesn’t.     There was a television “studio” there where you could sit behind the desk and be televised as you give the weather report.

I refused.   I realized how “shy”  I still am.   Cooper refused.   He’s shy too.    What a happy little astonishment  to realize how alike we are — and how our traits and characteristics are passed down into our grandchildren — and how MUCH we love them for it, for being familiar to us.

Did you know that when God looks down on this planet,  He looks for and recognizes those humans who are like Him, and who are becoming more and more like Him?    He is Holy and Good, and only those who are like Him can survive  (can exist)  in Heaven where He is.

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Cooper and I share a fascination with music too;  or maybe it’s more a sensitivity to sounds.  Like his Mommy too.

They say the universe vibrates with energy and sounds.   The Music of the Spheres, the Ancient Greeks used to call it.   Everything reverberates with energy, within and without, making beautiful sounds which we can only hear a small range of.  Harmonious vibrations because they all have one Source.

If you’re “small”   —

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—  you can put yourself into a giant soap bubble and wonder how it happens.   Fun for little ones.   But interesting for “big ones”  when you think about all the forces that hold things together:  surface tension of the soap bubble;   gravity;   strong and weak atomic forces;  gluons;    . . .   and the ongoing will of God to keep it all together – for now.

I don’t.   We don’t.  No one knows how to “keep it all together.”   I live!   But I am not the One keeping my self alive!   Astonishing!

Okay.  Fewer words.

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Little boys love big . . .   things.  Vehicles and such.    Machines.

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If your heart stays  “small”  you need to try things out.  Get involved.     I had a turn in some of the farm machinery.  I sat in a huge … farm thing, and through the window was a display set up so you could see what a farmer would see if he were out working in that machine.

It was fun.    I was astonished at how much work there is to bringing our food to us.   The whole process of tiny little seeds growing into tall plants –  parts of which we can eat!   And we must eat food from plants!  

I’m reminded too about how much space it takes to grow our food —  and I remember observing how very much “space”  our country has.    It is astonishingly EMPTY of people and towns and cities!

It is we who turn our backs on all this wonderful open space and choose to live in costly, crowded city situations.   There is so much space available for us, but we think we don’t want it.       A small two-acre plot with a nice house costs a half or a third or even a quarter of a dwelling place in our cities!     Astonishing what is available for us – if we avail ourselves of it!

I’m going to eliminate, oh, about twenty other photos and get to this fun adventure in the museum.

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Little Blur

See that little blur?

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Big Blur

How about the big blur!

The blurs were Cooper and Daddy, and it’s called Run With An Animal.   And see if you can run faster than that animal!!!

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That’s the Display Screen.   You touch the planet earth . . .

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. . . .then you choose a continent.  Then you choose your animal.

The animal (and you) begin to run when you press a button — and the squares on the floor light up as the animal is “running.”

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There he goes!   He’s beating that one!    I think Cooper got smart and picked a turtle that time,  but I can assure you,  he and his Daddy could not beat most of the animals they picked.

Animals  are astonishingly – fast!

Animal life is not like our life.   There really is a “jungle out there”!!

Here is my standard advice to all my classes:   Go to the public library  (or buy books if you have to) — and see all the picture books,  the photographic books,  the science books about . . .   pick a topic:  Animals of the World.    All the Birds of the World.  All the Flowers of the World.    Alpine Flowers.   Desert Flowers.   Flowers Mankind Never Sees.   Ocean Life.  Microscopic life.    Stars.  Mountains.   Rivers and Seas.   Forests.  

Then don’t let anyone disturb you.   Be a child, with that book.    Be amazed.   Be astonished.   Be very, very small.   Be humble . . .  and grateful that you got a glimpse of this vast Creation!

I don’t think I want to stop.      So  I think I’ll go and grab a book now.

A SMALL ADVENTURE

May 3, 2016

Small.  Inconsequential, really.    But our lives can be a series of small “adventures” if we invest a little time and attention.    Here’s a “small adventure”  from my recent trip to Indiana.

So . . . how interested in baking powder are you?     Ha ha ha ha.     Me neither:  not much.

clabber can

My mother-in-law was looking in my kitchen cabinets one day  (looking for something, it was okay),  when she called out in surprise, “Oh, you buy Clabber Girl too!”    Our  mutual choice of the Clabber Girl brand was one of the few things she and I had in common  (other than her son).

She said her own mother always used Clabber Girl.   That would make it about a hundred and twenty year old tradition!

I had a six hour drive home from Indiana and about twelve hours to do it in.   And I discovered that Terre Haute had a Clabber Girl museum.  Indeed, it was the headquarters of Clabber Girl.     It was easy to find . . .

I told myself to be interested.   Kind of like a “forced field trip”  when you were in school and someone told you where to go.   I’m my own schoolteacher.

Found the factory!

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This is the real deal:  a whole big factory for making baking powder.

Parking was a problem though.   They had a parking lot nearby —

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—  but I didn’t know if I qualified as “approved.”      Might not be.    But I had my pedometer attached to my body,  so I didn’t mind racking up a few extra steps.   Eight city blocks worth!

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I walked past several factory buildings along those blocks.

hulman name

Anton Hulman, Sr.   Founder.   The Hulman name is prominent around Terre Haute.   Of such details a successful game of Trivial Pursuit is made.    Or maybe Jeopardy. . . .

This is the entrance I wanted:

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That was some bake shop inside!     Soups,  sandwiches,  and the most desirable baked goods!   And then the museum.

It was huge – and delightful – inside.  The exhibits were made with care, using actual  objects and furnishings from olden days.  And someone kept walking around with a tray of warm cookies,  made with  Clabber Girl baking soda,  of course.

Here’s part of an authentic Pig n Whistle:

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Yep –  a tavern.   Looked inviting,  except for a photo of a “floozie” on the wall.  I’m not that kind of girl!     Apparently,  everyone knew what  a Pig n Whistle was:   the “boy”  employee had to go down to the basement periodically to bring up more whiskey in a pigskin container.   And to prove he was not taking a nip or two on the way up,  he had to keep whistling so his employer could hear that he was being honest!

A store –  with  ration coupons available:

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My grandma shopped in a store like this.    Come to think of it,  my great-grandfather owned a store just like this –  although with more meat available.  He was a butcher.

Well . . . here.  Someone sent me an old newspaper clipping —

Vierela's Store.jpg

Interesting?   Well. . . . .        Well,  if you’re ever going to imagine what it was like to live a hundred years ago,   now’s the time,  while you’re in this museum.

Vehicles were prominent displays –

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Baking powder –  right to your doorstep.

And a genuine Hansom Cab –

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Sorry,  I’m not too mechanically inclined, and I can’t explain to you all the wonderful new technological  advances this cab represents –  gears and cranks and levers and lower center of gravity for increased stability . . .   but I remember that the driver rode on top – and he was the only one who could open that front door to let the passengers out.    It was the height of comfort and luxury.    I just can’t understand why.

But I can understand this one!!  —

 

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Gorgeous!!!   Turns out Anton Hulman, Jr. bought the Indiana Speedway   from Eddie Rickenbacker   –  The World War One flying ace hero!

cl eddie in his plane

You know what the cross decals on his plane are for.     Western Civilization owes him a lot.

I think he’s sitting in the same car that I was standing in front of  —

cl eddie

He loved flying in planes and flying in  racing cars!

(And how about that NASCAR race this weekend at Talladega!!   One man said they ought to have had an air traffic controller there because there were so many cars flying airborne in a record number of crashes! —   So who would have guessed that I would have become interested in auto racing?!)

Well,  you get the idea of the museum.  It was soon time for me to find the Powder Room.

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An actual “powder room”  !!      Museum exhibit?      Of course I tried the door and went in!

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Gleaming shiny new —  not an antique!  I think I was glad.

It’s almost time to leave the museum,  but first we must pay some respects.

The Hulman family brought the Clabber Girl company through hard economic times that caused many other big businesses to fail.     No government bailouts then.  Through careful management they came through a couple national depressions and two world wars.

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One of the Hulman young ladies was in the army, WWII.  They did their patriotic duty in every way possible —

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Take time to consider this sign.   Everyone participated in the war effort.    It wasn’t fun,  but it was sacrifice for a bigger cause — and Americans thought their country was worth saving,  worth fighting for.

Hats off to you, old man. . .  Mr.  Hulman.

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I left the museum and began the long walk back to my car,  out into the present-day world.

I won’t call it the modern world;    we are post-modern now.  We have left the greatness and bigness of the whole  modern world far behind.     We are not growing,  inventing,  solving problems,  living with confidence,   celebrating our greatness. . .

But once we celebrated —

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A hundred years ago, America was great, growing, strong, optimistic,  individualistic, self-confident — and we came out by the thousands to celebrate the opening . . .  of a baking soda factory!!

 

THE MOUNDS ADVENTURE

May 1, 2016

Indiana.  Who would have thought Indiana would offer so many of these “superlative”  experiences!     Or maybe it was just me.

Leaving my car and getting lost.

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It started with this inviting and modern visitor center at the Mounds State Park about 45 miles north of Indianapolis.   I’m very interested in archeology, paleobiology,  and Ice Age people.     But the Mounds State Park offered a tourist’s eye view of some mounds built by people who lived here about 2,100 years ago.    Good enough.

I had a nice talk with a park ranger in the gift shop inside, and then obtained a map for a short trail walk to see the mounds.    Short.    Short.     I was heading home and eager to be on my way . . . but   a 0.5 mile walk shouldn’t be much of a delay.

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Trail Map

I discussed my route with the nice park ranger  and went over it a second time:  so,  just down those steps and a little to the left,  then take # 1 trail back to the Visitor Center,  right?       0.5 miles.

Found the beginning steps easily:

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They were steep, but sturdy.

And a lot more of them than the trail map indicated!

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Was it six flights of steps – downwards?   (At this point I was still innocent of any “upward”  thoughts.)

And actually it was getting quite beautiful.

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There was an “atmosphere” here.  It was cool and moist, the air was fresh,  but beyond that there was that sense that you are entering into a different world.   Five minutes into this and I was already feeling the people who had lived here so long ago;  and respecting them for who they were.   This was their Home,  their air I was breathing.

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It was an  ancient place, with trees of all ages.    I’d have to duck under that one.  (Did young women wash  clothes in a stream like that?)

Here is an innocent bystander:

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See that?    A much older tree fell.  For whatever reason,  its time was up.   But when it fell, it took a young, healthy tree with it.   An innocent bystander just got in the way, and now its life is over too.   I stayed there for a few minutes,  thinking about what that means.  It was just an accident.   But the healthy young tree will be dead.

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I was not finding any mounds,  but after a half hour I found a river.   I was thoroughly disoriented by now and the Trail Map was no help.  There were intersecting pathways of all sizes,  but nothing was labeled,  no arrows, no trail names.     The labels were all on the Trail Map.

The longer I stayed alongside the river,  the noisier it got, almost like a waterfall up ahead.

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It wasn’t a waterfall,  just a change in the river somehow.   I really couldn’t figure out what was causing the change.  No elevation difference.   No protruding stones.   I just stared at the river for a while,  enjoying the negative ions   (which are “positively”  good for you.)   I shouldn’t   have been this relaxed and happy —  because I was quite lost.

Farther on I found some fly fishermen —  they don’t like to be too near civilization.    That means I wasn’t either.   Time to make a turn at some next intersection.   Hopefully.

Cute little valleys all over the hills –

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By now I’m remembering that,  yes, indeed,  this was once someone’s Home —  but not mine.     Some of the random turns I was making was taking me up very steep hills.  I passed these steps, then after ten minutes came back and decided I’d better take them.

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A little more rustic here, deeper into the woods.    I thought if I could get to higher ground,  maybe I could “see something,”  get my bearings.     But all I found up there was a  young lady just as lost as I was.   We discussed where we thought we were on the Trail Map,  but we couldn’t even agree which way to hold the map, so we parted company – in opposite directions,  wishing each other well.

Found some interesting things along the way:

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My cell phone was starting to beg for a battery charge, so I knew I couldn’t take many more good photos.   By this time seeing the Mounds was becoming less of a priority.    The young lady did mention that she was afraid the park would be closing soon.   I hadn’t thought of that.

At last – a fence!

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A fence and a sign!!   Someone has been here before me!    That little rise in the green grass is the side of the “big” mound.      It was slightly anticlimactic when compared to the huge hills I had been struggling upwards for the past hour or so –  but nevertheless,  here are the mounds.

My cell phone and I used what energy we had left and dutifully walked around and in the mound area.

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A left view.   And then a right view:

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Really.

After my long “walk in the park,”  I decided you’d have to be an archeologist to get really excited about this.    It was good.   It was good to be there.

My T shirt from the Gift Shop explains much more:

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There is a lot more to the mounds than meets the eye.   An alignment with the stars.   That’s an aerial view of the  Mound I was standing in front of.    I was standing just about     . . .  never mind.  I’m still not sure.

And I still had to find  my way back to the Visitor’s  Center.   A young couple came up behind me arguing about where they were on the map and how to get out of there.   They   stopped to  read the sign by the mound –  which didn’t have a map on it to give a hiker any help –  and then they  turned around and went back in the direction they came from.

I persisted.     Persistence can be really dumb when you’re lost in the woods,   but I just couldn’t face all those same trails again.

Let’s just say:  I got out.

I bought another souvenir for myself  –

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A  pencil that looks like a twig!   How fun is that!

And so . . .  I began to enjoy this long walk in the woods.

Glad I saw the mounds.

HUMAN LIFE: SUPERLATIVE IN EVERY WAY

April 28, 2016

I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now, back from my photo-scouting trip,    and wondering why on earth I still feel so tired.

Not really physically, I realized,  although we did our best to wear ourselves out each day.  I’m mentally and emotionally worn out.    Mostly because of this:

penske side truck

Inside a truck just like that was a very brave little boy,  trying almost successfully not to cry;   breaking  my heart because we had to say good-bye.     We had been together almost non-stop for two whole days, enjoying a “secret world” that only a grandma and a grandson can create.   We saw the world together;  were amazed at the same things together;  had the same shared feelings.   Bonded.

And then it was time to part and Daddy would be driving that truck  . . . away.    When you’re five years old, you know it has to happen,  but you feel sad about it.  When you’re many-decades + five years old,  you know it has to happen,  but you’re sad about it too.

map for snow

Daddy and Cooper had to continue westward along that red line.  Grandma had to re-trace the blue line.   (There will be  a southern swing to the otherwise straight shot across the country due to April snows along I-70 and I-80:    13-16 inches over mountain roads!   In a truck full of precious family cargo.

In that green spot in the middle there is where I got LOST in the woodlands of Indiana for an hour or so.   On foot.    Halfway through that little adventure,  every time I opened up my cell phone, it gave a pathetic little  “meeep”  and indicated it need a battery charger.    Which made me a little uneasy, being so far away from my car.

But the three of us had many interesting adventures in Terre Haute, Indiana, where we had met for a couple days.  Good stories and photos coming up here in the Spruce Tunnel, but I wanted to begin with that little “human” type experience of saying good-bye to your loved ones.

Because what I was doing out in the woodlands in the middle of Indiana, on foot,  is looking for Indian mounds,  from people who lived there about 2,100 years ago.   People just like us in almost every way.   Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Take a mental trip down the timeline of human history.    Make a mental stop every 2,000 years or so.      Technology changes.  What our clothes are made of changes.     What our buildings and homes are made of changes.   How information gets passed around changes.  How we obtain our food changes.   How we travel changes.

What doesn’t change is that we live in small family units within a larger tribe or clan,  or more artificially:  within a larger nation.    Again:     Families.  Family love.  Family needs.   Family relationships.

Put me in a shelter along a shore of a northern sea.   Put me in a cave in southern France.      Put me in a longhouse in the north American forest.  Put me in a fine stone castle.  Put me in a little suburban home.

But part me from my grandson  and I will have the same feelings in any Time.    Part us from our loved ones:  a grown child marries;   a parent dies;   a spouse dies;   a friend moves far away.   We will feel love and loss.

No matter what Time is your present Time –   it’s the people in  your family,  your close kin, and your close friends that matter to you; and  how you treat them and love them  that defines you as a person.

After I waved good-bye to Cooper and his Daddy,  I went backup to my hotel room and immediately began beating myself on the head –  “I forgot to show him this!”    “I forgot to tell him that!”      “I should have done this with Cooper.”      “I could have said more of this!”  

I could have – I should have –  I wish I did . . .

Silly,  I know.    But it’s because it matters.

 

(Fun stuff coming up in the next post.)

 

 

 

 

 

SCOUTING MISSION

April 25, 2016

 

Off on a scouting mission.    

scouting

Will gather up some good photographs for the end of this week.

 

 

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…con Dios.

TWO HOLIDAYS – IN TRANSITION

November 30, 2014

(First Holiday)   –

Well, the “transition” is partly the drive home from my parents’ home in Florida, where my parents are “no more”  to my home in the Far North, where I am “more.”      That is, God has decided that there would be some more of me here on earth, and I sit, now  in the foggy wonderment of gratitude.

Meanwhile,  two holidays have occurred.     I’m honored to have been within 20 miles of the very first site of designated thanksgiving on these shores,  near this river, here, in Florida:

 

thanks river site

This was one of the sites in North America where it was reported that there are precious living souls that have never heard the name of Jesus,  and good young men rushed off to bring material help and spiritual aid to the native peoples.    After a propitious start,  a Thanksgiving to  the Most High God was decreed, and that was near St. Augustine, Florida, in the mid 16th century.

thanksg priest

On my way out of Florida I decided to stop at a history museum to see what I could learn about this era.   It was the Brevard Museum of Science and History.    The building didn’t look like much from the outside,  but inside I was entranced and captivated by the informative displays — i.e.  “I learned a lot” !

thanks river site

Near that river in the  photo above is a large area of bogs:

windover bog

Desolate, dark, swampy areas with compacted biological and mineral matter  —   Perfect for preserving the details of life as it existed long ago.   If you were a scientist digging into those bogs,  you would see exciting, promising walls of bog like this:

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Really!   If that doesn’t excite you,  you ought not to be an archeologist or a paleontologist!

Slowly, with toothpick and toothbrush, and other such fine tools,  the scientists uncovered the details of life among the native American people here in Florida.    I was looking at the Windover Tribe.    I’m afraid I moved slowly from area to area with open mouth and slack hands at my side – not conducive for much picture-taking –  but I managed to take  a couple photos, out of great respect for these people:

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Actual cloth  woven by the tribe (preserved in bog color, of course).  The weaving was exquisite and of great variety, more variety than we have in our clothes today.

And then there was this child, lovingly and carefully buried:

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She is about five years old and she is buried with some toys.   They cared about her.    She is buried  in a water grave;  literally laid to rest under a few feet of water,  covered,  the body tied down with those triangles of sticks,  covered again, and weighted down by rock so tide and predators won’t take her away.

These water graves were not used anymore by the time the missionaries came to the Florida shores,  depicted in this mural:

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Here is the truth about what those first missionaries found:     Archeologists found that the people were about the same height as the Europeans, averaging 5 feet 6 inches to about 5 feet 8.    They were subject to many nutritional deficiencies and  degenerative diseases, often including degenerative arthritis and tooth infections leading into the jaw.  Ouch.

The Windovers were one of several small tribes up and down the coast of Florida, and there is evidence of deep wounds,  bones scarred and shattered by arrows, spears, and clubs;  and so in spite of the standard obligatory museum statements that the natives were “peaceful” and lived in harmony with their world,  evidence supports the conclusion that they were no different from people who live anywhere in this Fallen World.    They waged war, and as Columbus had found a few decades before,   they  kept slaves, they murdered and tortured each other to quite an alarming degree.

There is evidence of fear, superstition,  and magic.   Here is just one glass-enclosed case of their personal-size,  hand-held idols:

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It is to these people that the missionaries came.

thanks mass among

Yes, of course,  other kinds of Spaniards came,  but the Church decreed in several papal bulls that the indigenous people were not to be harmed, and that their culture was to be respected and kept intact.   On pain of excommunication.    (The Vatican had about as much power over the Conquistadors as the Vatican today has over the likes of a Ted Kennedy,  Nancy Pelosi,  or a Tony Blair…. or other names we know who publicly claim to be Catholic.)    But even villains have souls;  and is there anyone beyond hope?

I’m becoming rambly now.    Rambly:  my mind is beginning to ramble, because I’m a historian by nature, and I know of myriads of cultures and societies that have come and gone on this planet;  like these Windover people.    Like the Rus Vikings in my own heritage,  no longer Christian,   degenerated now into a bunch of bewildered Swedes who are being beaten down  (literally, physically)  and overwhelmed and overcome by the African Muslims who are busy overtaking Sweden .

If I can ramble one little step further:  I love my Swedish heritage,  but  without the knowledge of God,  they are subject to all the ordinary evils of this world, including confusion,  weakness, , and displacement.

So I arrived home with the knowledge of another small society which some great young men had attempted to impart the knowledge of  the One and Only True God.       Then it was my opportunity to give thanks, with my very small family,  with turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, happy that though we may be just  one temporary culture along the stream of Time,   there is preserved in us the knowledge of God.

…and happy to learn and obey this:  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. . . .”   (I Thessalonians 5:18)

So thanks to all those missionaries who settled both coasts of Florida;    and northwards up the Mississippi;  and southwards down the Mississippi;     across Mexico;  upwards along the coast of California;  downwards along the Pacific Northwest coast;   all along the Great Lakes;  down the St. Lawrence River;  Upper New York state;  Vermont;  New Hampshire.

East; West;  North;  South;  and right in the middle of our nation,   the missionaries brought the news of Jesus Christ. . . .

. . . .   the missionaries soaked the ground with their blood.

Perhaps we do have a mission in this world.

Deo gratias.

 

COMING BACK TO MYSELF

November 28, 2014

Well.    As I said in my last posting,  it was time to go home.

So I did.

And there was little opportunity to continue brooding:

driving rain

I left the constant spray of the ocean surf and spent the next 22 hours of driving through the constant spray of an apparently nationwide rainstorm.         Heavy downpours alternating with foggy drizzle;  poor visibility;  strong, cold winds;  wet, slippery roads;  fast traffic.   Strong thunderstorms and an F1 tornado escorted me through Georgia.    I  saw two pretty bad accidents in the Smokies,   arriving perhaps just minutes after they had happened.

And then,  about  three hours from home, late at night, I experienced a ten-minute episode of  a dangerous road game — I was the chosen target, two young men were the perpetrators  ( although if I had done what they were trying to get me to do,  I would have received the traffic  ticket — if I  survived.)

I was relieved to finally arrive in my own home state where it was somehow easier to drive in the bad weather.

It was good to see that some in my neighborhood had begun decorating their homes with Christmas lights.       And then, there was my own house – it was not dark, it had been decorated too!!

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A BIG THANKS  to Son who wanted to surprise me in such a bright and cheerful way!!!!    He  couldn’t have known just how much that meant to me.   Something wonderful and cheery to get ready for….  some reason to get engaged again in the world around me.   The long drive home was over;  maybe the long period of dull brooding was over too.

I didn’t unpack the car that night,  but I began the next morning.

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Now I know why I like the color yellow so much.    Right there is  the most color I’d seen for a long time!     Florida the Sunshine State?   I brought some home with me in my trunk –

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Look  —   There are some lessons for us from my week or two of dull,  brooding introspection.      If your friend needs to do that for a while,  let him.  Let him!   Without advice or anxiety.  And if it happens to you, let it happen.    I learned something during this time.   Or I think I did.   I changed a little.   Or I think I did.    The death of someone near and dear to you will do that.   Or I think it should.

Second lesson is this:   Look again!    All the way home during that dark, rainy, dangerous road,  I had had those wonderful sunshiny bags of citrus with me, after all.   And I arrived at an unexpectedly cheerful home with the lights pointing me to Christmas!      Goodness,  cheer, hope, and God are never far  away.

One more lesson:  when I first came back to my emails,   I saw that many had wished me well after the death of my Mom, and many had been praying for my safe return.    That’s significant.    I had been supported.     Receive from others;  give to others.      We’re not in this life alone.      No one around us should be alone.

Deo gratias!

 

(And thanks for the time to brood.   I think I’m done.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALONE AND UNSEEN

November 28, 2014

That’s not really a sad title.   Nor a happy one, of course.     Just no emotion (yet);   just . . . matter of fact:

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Thanksgiving week;  part of it in Florida.   That’s looking out my living room window in my ocean “home away from home.”   It’s off-season and so there was no one on the beach.  Florida was having its version of “winter,”  overcast skies, cool and strong winds flowing down the beach.

It was good for me to be alone.    When Hubbie died four years ago this week, the shock and grief was pretty devastating,  but we are carrying on for him in the manner in which he intended us to live, even though he is now unseen.      He would want us to eventually be “okay,”   not feel too alone.       When my father died two years ago, that was devastating in another way.   So many things I need to tell him and show him,  but he is unseen now too.    And now two more years have passed, and I’ve just lost my mother.   She is unseen now too,  but as I wrote here before,  everything she is I carry within me.    In a way,  I’m not alone.

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So here I am, in my   “front yard” — a.k.a. the beach —  sitting by the water,  in my orange “water shoes”  and my orange skirt,  wrapped around my legs by the wind.     I was  thinking about these three people in my life,  trying to feel how it feels to be alone in the world without Hubbie, Dad, or Mom.

But I didn’t know.   All I “knew” that day was  the sand and the cold wind and the noise of the pounding surf.    And a little visitor.   One of those fast-running little sandpiper-type birds that feed at the edge of the surf.  One of them became very curious about  my shoes.   He ran up to me,  I picked up my camera . . . slowly . . .  but he retreated as I snapped the picture.

Then he ran completely around me and my chair, about 18 inches away from my foot –  and I took another picture!    And a second time, running completely around me — and another picture!   And then he circled me a third time, a little closer — and another picture!

But all those pictures show only my shoe;  there is a lag time between the time my finger clicks the camera (on my cell phone)  and when the camera actually snaps the picture.    So the little sandpiper remains unseen by my camera;  he’s unseen,  but I wasn’t alone there.

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I stayed yet another day at that place,  needing to hear the commotion of the surf  that seemed to drown out unnecessary thoughts.       It was another mostly overcast, cold, windy day, alone at the beach.

I moved back up to my “back patio”  to  read and pray and think, still looking out at the ocean.   And then something moved near me.   Not a bird at my feet this time,  but something whizzing  above my head, sometimes twenty, sometimes thirty, sometimes ten feet away — up there.   It was a little airplane.  Someone’s remote-controlled airplane.     So of course I took a picture:

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Like the little sandpiper,  it was mostly too fast for my camera.   I have about fifteen more  of these photos, all different angles.   For a while I thought maybe this is a “drone.”  a drone with a camera!    So I waved.   And smiled and waved again.   But  I think I was unseen there on that patio.

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The clouds broke a little,  and this time I was lucky with the shutter — I caught that little airplane.      Some young guys having fun with their airplane. . . . and so I wasn’t really alone.

A little more staring out at the beach —

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I’m not sure if I’ve seen enough of it,  but I was feeling like it was time to go.    I’d been alone, and it had felt good.   I’d been free and unseen for a while, with the little bird’s attention,  next to the young men  with their airplane fun.

I’m going “nowhere” with my feelings, but there are people waiting for me “somewhere” at home.

It’s . . . just . . . time to go home.

FUTURE UNCERTAIN – FLORIDA

November 19, 2014

I must be in Florida:

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The pretty blue car doesn’t usually get to park under palm trees.

I’ve arrived.   I can hear the surf pounding outside my window.

And I don’t know what the next few days will bring.

No one can know.    Where do we get the courage to step into those days ahead?

Bar wavy

All I can do is thank God for the safe drive down here,  and expect to have more things to thank Him for in the near future.

 

ATLANTA GAME DAY – THE DRIVING GAME

November 17, 2014

(A photomicrograph of Brownian Motion) –

Brownian colored

Remember studying Brownian motion in high school science?   It’s the fascinating discovery that particles dropped into a fluid seem to disperse evenly and orderly,  but under a microscope,  what is happening is totally random:  molecules clacking into other molecules, careening off in random directions, only to crash into other molecules.

brownian chart

Yeah, that’s driving straight through Atlanta on I-75.

Billiard balls come to mind too,  like you find yourself in the middle of some gigantic crazed game of billiards gone awry —  only you’re driving one of the brightly colored balls.

billiard balls

Your task is to drive through the north side of Atlanta, straight throught the city center, and come out on the south side.

The rules of the game are:

Keep your eye on the signs that say  “I-75 South”  –

Atlanta Signs

You find your lane from the six or eight or eight and a half lanes that are in front of you;  set your pace with the flow of traffic; and whoosh!

Atlanta lanes

Now you have to move over two lanes to the right,  through all that traffic…

Now three lanes to the left, through all those other cars….

Now get in that turning lane, way over there…

Then merge with three other lanes.

Atlanta close cars

You know you’re about halfway through the city when the lane changing pretty much stops, but the speed of the  lanes picks up to about 25 m.p.h. above the posted speed limit.   (Who is that 55m.p.h. posted limit for,  tricycles?)
Once you get used to the speed of Atlanta whizzing past,  you’ll notice your lane is now called  “Air Cargo.”    That’s all right.  Keep following the Air Cargo lane, and you’ll soon see a “show” —  50 feet above the road are all kinds of giant airplanes suspended above you,  ascending or descending in slow motion.

(Thanks to these photographers of Atlanta traffic.)     I would have taken some photos of my own,  but I couldn’t pry my hands off the steering wheel.

Good thing I’m not really “air cargo” because I’ve never actually seen the exit ramp for the airport.

About twenty minutes of driving later,  the traffic lightens up a bit,  and you can now  reduce your speed to the posted 70 m.p.h.    Which is good.  Because in the middle to the sourthern part of the state is where all the Georgia road patrol works.

I’m writing this . . . because I made it through.

 

THE LADY TRAVELS ON A SEE-SAW

November 15, 2014

75 see saw

That “lady” would be me — on a see-saw, a week and a half of extreme ups and downs, and now I find myself on the road again.

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This is where “the lady”  is writing from right now.   Everything on that hotel bed that I could want to unwind with after several hundred miles of driving.   TV,  Nook,  laptop, and knitting.

Two rooms to relax in.

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And I have a lot to think about.

I didn’t plan to travel this month.    As I pulled out of my driveway, all packed and ready to go,  I looked long and hard at my home, wishing it could hear me say “Bye, house”  —  wishing it would make sense to say good-bye to a house.     I’m going to miss being home. . . .but I have to make this sudden trip.   Yes, no.  Go, no go.  Like a see-saw.

Well,  I’m leaving the frozen Far North, where the nights will be 16 degrees this week,  and I’ll be staying here instead:

75 Tuckaway Beach n Scrub

Literally, staying there.    It’s Florida, and that’s where I stayed last time I was there.  I opened my door and – boom! —  that’s what I walked into.  My mind is still gearing up for winter. . . .

I haven’t blogged much lately because so much has been going on in my life;  good and bad, like  being on a see-saw.   (Although unlike that cartoon in the top picture, we called them teeter-totters at school and nobody liked the two-seaters anyway.)

I’m traveling because I got a call from my mother’s doctor.  He told me that she was very sick, and although he didn’t say it was an emergency, he called it “urgent.”    Mom is 88;  pneumonia and fluid build-up in the lungs is drawing me to her now,  no matter what it’s called.

The latest word is that she is doing much better.     See-saw.   But I’m going south anyway.

Just before I left, I came down with some sort of laryngitis.   The bane of schoolteachers.   I’m feeling a little sick, but the laryngitis is annoying.   Especially because  tonight I am staying here:

75 renfroRenfro Valley.  Home of the Saturday Night Barn Dances.   Home of the sound of Appalachian Gospel music — all over the radio.  It’s wonderful!!  But I can’t sing along now.

But it’s a serious “see-saw”  that I’m seeing on this trip.    Missing home lasted for about fifty miles.    Anything left undone at home will be all right.   All my minor personal stuff is just that:  “minor.”

It’s the major goods and bads, ups and downs, dangers versus signs of hope that give me the sensation of being on a see-saw too.

Just to name three issues:

1. Our country is staggering under the unsustainable weight of social programs and social regulations that the socialists multiply onto us, and we have an avowed and obvious marxist on our throne attempting to finish us off.    But is the good news that we are still “America”  and some people may bring us back to our Constitution?   So what now?  Are we “up” or “down”?

2.   In my Church,  we have a secularist, materialist utopian ideology that has taken control for the past fifty years, with an avowed and obvious marxist on the throne, apparently oblivious of the fact that he is “different”  from the teachings he is supposed to uphold.     But is the good news that no one can really change the teachings of the Church, and there have been unworthy  popes and bishops many times before – and they are NOT the Church itself?  So what now,   are we hopeful or not hopeful?

3.    One more issue:  I can’t decide whether it is ridiculously little because it’s about those old-fashioned little floppy discs that no one uses anymore;  or if this is a big issue because what came out in the news today is that our big   (n* uc*  clear  )  weapons that we have are run on computers that still use floppy discs.     So what now?  Is that okay because we don’t have many left anymore and Russia has far more than we do anyway?

I’m going to need both those rooms tonight to relax and think and sort things out.  And if my Mom gets better,  then I’m really going to enjoy visiting with her and taking a little vacation.

But I don’t know if I’m off that see-saw yet.