Posted tagged ‘Nature’


June 4, 2018


Not-so-open . . .       Well,   here:

atlanta bridge390

I knew this was coming.    All through the richly green beautiful hills of Kentucky and Tennessee,  I was thinking about this challenge that lay ahead.


Seven lanes in my direction,  with another six merging in on up ahead,


This one is right after going under the bridge; you can see the merging lanes better.

Now,  usually the challenge is that the traffic is going  55,  60,  70 or more miles per hour and invariably you have to make  several cuts across lanes because they keep switching where your route is.   Big signs, very little opportunity to make the switches.

Today was better, so to speak.     Atlanta radio,  WSB,  750 AM, announced there was an accident, and the two right lanes were closed.    At first I thought,  “Oh, nuts, now there’ll  be severe slow downs and stops.”    And then I thought –  “slow downs and stops?”    Now all the cars will have time to see which lane they’re supposed to be merging into, time to plan the sudden left or right turn in front of another car,  and we can all do it at reasonable speeds –  say,  6 or 8 m.p.h.

It all worked out nicely.   I’ve never been so relaxed going through Atlanta.

And I had two rewards for making it through safely.

One was I got to drive right under the runways of Atlanta Hartfield –  I saw two huge passenger planes,  a few hundred feet above my head!     (Pretty exciting for a girl who grew up a half mile from O’Hare Air Base   (and even after it became  O’Hare International).

And then there was this little reward –

cattails 390

I hope this shows up real well.     After all that urban “alertness,”   it was a treat to be presented with this little clump of natural beauty.    It’s a little arrangement of cattails at the side of the parking lot where I’m staying tonight.

I’m pretty sure they weren’t planted there;  just so attractive and calming.

Stay grounded to Nature, everyone!     Take time to stop and smell . . .  photograph the cattails in your life!




October 30, 2017

Ever been disappointed in yourself?    Well, that’s me last week.  “Tunnel Fail.”  Or rather  “Me Fail.”      Me-in-the-Tunnel Fail.

I needed a new photo of the Spruce Tunnel for a project I was planning to do.  No problem driving there.

ST road and pasture

In fact, it was a beautiful autumn road, with colorful trees on one side and a pasture on the other side.   (You can’t see the horses from my windshield.)

Then closer and down the hill . . .

ST road to

… to a flooded area aside the Spruce Tunnel area:

ST flooded

Actually, that was beautiful in its own way too.

I parked my car and began the trek in to where the Tunnel would be.  The leaves had made a gorgeous carpet.   Lighting just right.    Fun to walk on.

ST orange pathway

You get this only once a year!

It was a busy day for me and I had allowed myself only twenty minutes for my mission.   I still had more walking to do.

ST approaching tunnel

The lighting changed and bleached out the colors.   That dark spot up ahead isn’t the Spruce Tunnel,  but it’s the approach to the Tunnel.

I walked on,  into the beginning of the Tunnel:

ST pathway

And just as I got to about where I wanted that new photo I hit a dilemma —

ST barrier

Now, that doesn’t look like much of a barrier in this photo,  but the fallen tree is maybe forty feet long,   into the thicker brush,  and  about four feet high, just about to my waist.   I used to love running hurdles.  I was good at it.  It was a joyful thing to do!    But I was thinking  “used to.”

Also, those little branches sticking out in every direction were, in reality,  rather thick – and unyielding.    Unlike my skin.   There was really not a big enough gap in those branches for me to sling my leg through and over.    I kind of tried but my face began to get scratched hard by those littler branches.

Also I was hanging onto a big purse with long tangle-able straps.

Also,  I’m afraid of spiders.   (Big factor in my dilemma).

Also I’m a “woman alone.”   No one to pick me up or run to my rescue.

I accepted the challenge.

And then I thought again  of all the  “might happens.”

And then I was determined to meet this challenge.

And then I thought again.

(Repeat about six times.)

How disappointed I was that I  . . .  just . . .  didn’t.    I could have done it.   Somehow.  But I had a camera in one hand,  a big purse in the other.    Maybe I couldn’t have done it successfully.

The “old lady”  in me won out.    Maybe that was wise;  but it sure isn’t fun.

I’d like to go back to that day,  that spot, and this time  just  LIVE A LITTLE –  and jump that tree.


This is a sad ending —  and not because I never got that new photo.



March 21, 2017

Okay,   this might be my last post title that sounds like a command.)

I returned  again this year on a  March cold-almost-spring day to  where —

1.5 Trees with pails 350

—   to where  buckets hang from trees.

Sugar maple trees, specifically.

I’ve been writing lately about the importance of doing something new or different,  but really,  sometimes you should just go out and do something that you’ve done before!  You know,  been there, done that.    It  might be worth a repeat effort  too.

I was very surprised to meet Son and his friend there at the arboretum  – they were busy at one point drilling a hole in a tree:

4.5 Son and Friend drilling 300

That gives the sap a place to run out.

5 spout

And, yes,  we all tasted the drops.

6 sap licking

Sweet in a gentle, diluted way –  but sweet.   Like rainwater with a grain of sugar.

And we watched exactly how the Indians made maple syrup, collecting the sap,  hollowing out long half-logs with burning coals,

mani hot stones

and making birch bark baskets,  boiling the sap . . .

8 Boiling syrup 220

I’ve seen all this before because I’ve been here before.

I was glad to do it again.   I was glad to learn all this again.  A few old facts stuck out in my mind differently this time.      Like,  I knew the North American Indians — in the northern part of North America, that is —  were the first and only nations to develop the method of making maple syrup –  but, wow!   That’s  big.    I’m glad they did.


  I’m glad someone did!

Now,  there is a lot to see in  the arboretum where these sugar maples grow and where the demonstrations were held,   but,  since I’ve “been there, done that,”  I’ve also posted it all before.

It’s worth a click:       CLICK!

And then for the   “Native” American lesson,  there’s more to see:       CLICK!


Or you can find some place to drive to your own maple syrup demonstration if you live near a nice, fresh sugar maple grove outdoors on a cool spring day . . .


thicker than


Maple Syrup!        Mmmmmmm.       So important!











September 11, 2016

Sept. 11, 2016   –


As I left church this morning I looked up.

Great evil:   Those “trails”  are raining down on us  boron,  barium,  cadmium,  assorted radioactive isotopes, desiccated red blood cells,  and above all,  great quantities of aluminum.     Among other occasional substances.

Most of these are neurotoxins, causing neurological deficits, dementia,  sterility, and increasing immune-system weaknesses.       The above-named substances have been found in human hair samples,  bone marrow,  spinal fluid in  “inexplicable”  quantities, and all on the rise.

Whatever explanation our Rulers give us,  the fact remains that this is destroying human, animal, and plant life on earth.     Since about 1995.

I call that evil.

In front of that, however,  in the photo, pointing upwards,  is a great good.      In our church,  the Son of God actually becomes present on our altars.     Since about, oh,  33 A.D.

I call that a great good.

Who wins?

“Heaven and Earth shall pass away,  but my word will never pass away.”   (Jesus.  About 32-33 A.D.)






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


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.)


July 16, 2016

  Just for my own record,  I made it.


3 Shores whited 350

“By the shores of Gitche Gumme . . .”

3 shores of gg 400

By the Shining Big-Sea-Waters –

3 ShiningWaters

It  might look like all “water” to you,  but I spent the day flitting from this spot along the Lake to that spot,  like a butterfly,  sipping in sweet experiences; all varied, all blues,  all waters.

The shores were different from place to place –

3 red shores 400

I climbed down to these red  shelf-rocks,  and then I walked way out onto a breakwater to get more views –

3 out into waters 400

The forest back there covers a partial island,  a “presque isle” in French,  and it holds the grave of  an Indian chief who lives there.    I’m  in   Hiawatha’s native land.

Doesn’t that passageway just seem to beckon a canoe to travel forward into it?

3 canoe there 400

Forth upon the Gitch Gumme
On the shining Big-Sea-Water
With his fishing-line of cedar
Of the twisted bark of cedar
Forth to catch the mighty sturgeon
Mishe-Nahma, King of fishes
In his birch canoe exulting
All alone went Hiawatha.

‘Though Hiawatha can exult as his canoe speeds along,  he must be skillfully aware of hidden dangers.   The lake holds many  hidden boulders, sandbars,  floating  tangled logs,  shipwrecks, shoals,  islands,  and snaggy inlets.

Here’s one very noisy seagull island.   At times it is covered in white (seagulls)  as though there were snow on it  –

3 sea gull island 380

He looks like he has many tales to tell –

3 Ready to Tell380

And, as I said a few posts ago,  I’m here to tell myself my own tales.  Tales of my own life.  Tales that will make sense of my own life.

This is the Lake that I first saw when I was a newborn baby.    I come back to sit by its shores.

Ah, my son, exclaimed the Old Man
Happy are my eyes to see you!
Sit here on the mat beside me
Sit here by the dying embers
Let us pass the night together
Tell me of your strange adventures
Of the lands where you have traveled;
Then I’ll tell you of my prowess
Of my many deeds of wonder . . .




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.


June 15, 2016

Robin angry birds

I like playing the game.  No big deal,  but it’s a fun way to pass some time – if you’ve got some time you want to have passed away from you.

But it’s NOT fun living inside an Angry Birds screen.     The birds around here are crazy –  and think they own the place, it would seem.

Two evenings ago, I decided to take my evening reading out to the deck and enjoy a cool summer evening overlooking my backyard pond, as the low sun shone on it.


I opened the door and walked out — to a flurry of heavy wings and angry quacks.   I had disturbed the ducks who were also enjoying the evening along the banks of the pond.  They were not happy with me.

I’ve already given up my front porch this summer – to Mother Robin.

Robin angry bird

Last year it was Mother Cardinal,  this year it’s a robin who packed my porch light tight full with stuff.     It’s a  G R E A T  disturbance whenever I walk out the front door.  I do feel a bit guilty.    I’ve been pregnant.   I know what it’s like to  be disturbed once you’ve found a comfortable seat to relax in.

robin angry watching

Mother flies off in a “huff”  or what sounds like a bird huff, and sits on the grass nearby,  “barking”  at me in robin-speak.  It could be kind of cute, but the longer I stay outside  (like planting flowers, doing a little weeding. . . )  the more it gets annoying.

Which is, I suppose, her intention.

I leave.   She goes back to my porch light.

It’s always been like this –  Birds First.        I remember one time I went out on my back deck to just . . .  well, to actually pray for a brief moment out there.  My eyes were closed, when suddenly I felt a Presence – at my cheekbone.    And I heard an intermittent, loud buzzing.   When I slowly opened my eyes,  I saw a blurring motion right at the tip of my nose.  It was a curious hummingbird, looking for a landing, I think.  Or maybe I had just had some orange juice.

But too close for comfort!     My nose is close to my eyeballs!   I wrote about it in a post called Fawn Fun, here….

Back door.  Front door.  It’s enough to make one stay indoors for the Duration.

And to make one remember from whom the birds descended:

bird dino





June 2, 2016

Still contemplating which R word to use (Recover, Restore, Rebuild) —  but in this post I really mean   R-Rated,  and unless you’re a child of the 20th century and inured to perversion and immorality,  please don’t go on.      I wouldn’t let my family read this.  It’s not . . .  ladylike.

So,   don’t.    You’ve been warned.

JUNE # 1

June to fix

The lovely month of June is here!     Blooming Gardens,  Brooding Birds,   and Blushing Brides .

Good things that celebrate love and life!

June was named for the Roman goddess Juno who represented  matrimony and childbirth.   Families are the foundation of any healthy society,  and the Romans honored family and family connections.

In Christendom,  June is also known as the month of weddings,  *    a time to celebrate Holy Matrimony,   the foundation for family and the setting for rearing children.    The Church adds one deeper dimension:     June is the month dedicated to the celebration of The Sacred  Heart.

When I entered the Church, this symbol –

sacred heart

–   with its red heart surrounded by a crown of thorns,  burning flames, and dripping blood   was “embarrassingly”  overly sentimental.  It took me a little time to accept the Intense (burning)  Love that Our Crucified Lord actually had – for me!

Now I understand the symbol,  but  like any human being,  I also . . .  forget.    I know,  but I don’t feel it all the time.     Sometimes I remember when I used to roll my eyes at such a symbol –  and then I have to think about the True God that came to die for me in order that I may have eternal life in God’s good Heaven, where no sinner deserves to be.

So the Church, in her wisdom,  has developed the tradition of  appointing the whole month of June for us to think more deeply on these things.

A God who loves and cares!   Deo gratias!

JUNE  #  2

Now, we live in two worlds.   St. Augustine called it Two Cities.    We leave the City of God now, with its Natural Seasons and Natural Law,  and look briefly at that other city;    it’s temporary and R-Rated,  much to our sorrow.

An attempt to command –


O Not gonna have mine

The man they have placed into the American White House has –  in  diabolic defiance to Nature –    “ordered”  this country to celebrate un-Natural acts.

(Want the official White House proclamation?    Go   Here . . . )

Defying Nature is Un-Natural,  as in a roaring lion rolling over on its back, exposing its throat to a bunny rabbit . . .

Lion sent

A bunny coming?

. . .     Un-Natural  as  a butterfly swimming under water;

. . .    as  a hippopotamus “boinking”  a giraffe –  or trying to.    (Boinking –  you know  . . .  poking into.)

Each creature is made with certain characteristics for which it is Natural to do the things it was designed for.   An ear is for hearing.   A mouth is for eating.   Other parts of the body fit into other parts of another body.

Yet this man who is known to have been a  member  of two   (TWO!)   gay bath houses in Chicago,     has taken this lovely month of June and is trying to PUBLICLY  besmirch it . . .

(TAKE NOTE:  I’m writing about observable, objective undeniable  practices) — 

. . .   encouraging practices  which place a human mouth on another person’s . . . place where it’s icky to put it.     Or thrust one’s hand inside in order to find . . .   squishy substances.

Practices which always  result in damage to delicate tissue.      (As I said a few posts ago,  I worked in a hospital for four years.   Pediatrics, yes,  but sometimes I was pulled to help out in the emergency room.    You wouldn’t believe some of the things one man can do to another.)

Practices which encourage the spread of disease from one person to another.

Practices which according to government studies have increased the cost of healthcare and   burdened the economy with lost work days and lost productivity.  Government studies;  not someone’s “opinions.”

Practices which result in higher rates of depression,  psychological sickness, and violent abuse (statistically speaking)  of one’s partner in shame.    (so-called “spouse abuse”)   Just according to statistics.       Objective numbers.

Practices which violate the sanctity of the Natural family.

Practices which therefore a healthy society has always regarded with shame and  then outlawed – and punished.

The man encourages practices which violate his own religious preferences –

O presofus

—  and wishes citizens of this country to violate theirs.

Two Junes.   Two Months of Junes.

The contrast is clear.     And we can let it go,  or we can choose to live as human beings, repairing and rebuilding and  elevating our society into a state of dignity and respect.

bar dissolve er

Okay.  So maybe this post was X-Rated.        It’s hard to be ladylike and truthful about a 20th century-type society.

But NOTE AGAIN:   I speak of Practices;  actions,   not of persons.    Practices happen and can be objectively observed.

bar dissolve er


. *     Please don’t fall for the anti-Christian myth that puts forth June as the month for weddings because in the Middle Ages people were dirty and took baths only once a year when the weather got   warmer and so their bodies were less offensive in June.

Gullible college professors should be ashamed to continue that slanderous story in front of their uneducated students.










May 18, 2016

Life doesn’t make too much sense when you’re four years old.

My Skirt

But you do the best you can,  try to figure things out,  and experiment with the delightful new words you’re learning.

Adults do “random things”  – and only rarely explain why.

“Put your toys down and come over here.”

“Stand by that wall.”

“Show us your pretty skirt.”

“Now, smile.”

Hmmmmm.    Okay.     I actually remember the day that this photo was taken.   My Daddy and Mommy seemed quite pleased for some reason.    I think they liked using a camera.

We lived with my Grandma and Grandpa at the time.   ( I had no clue we were “poor.”)   And there were adults of all kinds running around the house carrying long pieces of wood and tools, running up and down stairs;  hammering, sawing, stomping around.

Grandma was in a tizzy.     Come to think of it,  all the adults were.    “Words” were spoken.   It seemed like not everyone agreed upon everything.    Probably too many strange men running around the house, making noise — and sawdust.

So one day Grandma took me by the hand and said,  “Come on,  let’s take a walk.”

ice cream .j

Hmmmmm.   Okay.    She walked us right to the ice cream store a few blocks away.   Then she and the nice man who owned the store asked me right out:  “What kind of ice cream do you want?”

They were asking my opinion!         Such a grown-up privilege!!!


beaver board

So, using my best grown-up voice, and my newly learned grown-up words, I replied:  “I want some two-by-four ice cream!” 

There!   That ought to get me something important!  My choice seemed to make all the grown-ups in the store very merry.

(I remember that day as well.   And years later when I visited the town where my Grandma lived,   apparently so  did others who lived there,  who often reminded me of my trip to the ice cream store.)

As a teenager,  that was a little embarrassing,  but now it’s not.    I was just not used to  all the ways that one can use “two-by-four” in a sentence.

There’s a point here, for us “grown-ups” today.  The world is complex enough and changing enough to still challenge us to “figure things out.”    All of Creation is so huge and wondrous that we can still be amazed at what we encounter.    (Even if it’s only on the Discovery Channel – or photo books –  or YouTube videos – but I recommend actually traveling and, if not,   reading.)

And so are human beings complex and marvelous . . .  and society . . .  and all the ways we can study human beings   . . .   like  character formation,  like virtues,   like civics,  like morality, and like the fascinating truth that our problems are not “political”  but rather they are spiritual.

So we’d better have the Vocabulary to deal with Life.

Remember all my posts that started with the word “Word” ?   Well,  here’s  another word:


That’s one we’d better know.

“Intrinsic”  –   the qualities that are internal to an object or to a concept or to an act by reason of its very existence.   Or:   the properties which are natural to a thing,  which are always present in the thing,  and which help us to recognize the thing.

That’s not from a dictionary,  but I think I know how to use that word now.    There are certain things that are characteristic of an object, a concept, or an act that are always present because of what it is.

Let’s take a negative example:     stealing.     Stealing is taking from another what belongs to him.   As such, it is an intrinsically evil act.    Because of what stealing is,  it will always be an evil under every circumstance.    (It’s a violation of the Seventh Commandment, as originally numbered,  and it’s a violation of the laws protecting the right to own private property in a secular nation, like ours.)

I’ll probably be using  the word “intrinsic”  in subsequent posts,  but for right now, an example from history:

Robin Hood was a thief.

Robin Hood

You can portray him as a handsome actor,  a romantic lover,  a cartoon,  a hero;  but in the end,  you can’t make ice cream out of two-by-fours,   and you can’t change the intrinsic evil of what he did.

Robin Hood was a thief.



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.


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.


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:


They were steep, but sturdy.

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


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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 –


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.


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:


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!


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.


A left view.   And then a right view:











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:


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  –


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.


March 16, 2016

God is so much bigger than Man that although we can know Him,  He still remains a glorious Mystery.

banner for Himself  10

It’s still Lent,  10 more days to go;   soon it will be time to reprise those last days of Our Savior, during what we call Holy Week, and we’ll tackle a serious Mystery.

But meanwhile,  God is a Mystery, true;  and so are we – a mystery to ourselves;  and so is this interesting planet that is our home.    We know a lot about our planet;  but it still gives us surprises.   Let’s have some fun:


A hole.   Appeared suddenly.   A reindeer herder noticed that up ahead, one of his reindeer seemed to be struggling,  like falling.   When he hurried up to see what was the matter,  he found that the reindeer had nearly slipped into this hole and was struggling to pull himself out!

This is land that the reindeer herder knew well.   That hole wasn’t there when he had passed this way several days before.   Some people in the vicinity have seen flashes of light from time to time,  but they are unanimous in saying there is never any sound.  No noise.

Since then, other holes have popped up, many miles away from each other, but still in the same Russian peninsula;  Yamal.



They were ten to seventy meters across;  some were very deep,  some were not too deep.

A different angle.    Notice the  “little”  men standing at the rim:


Scientists have taken many tests and measurements.    Here are some descending into a hole:


This one wasn’t too deep:


Not too deep,   so it presented more of a mystery.     Although some of the holes were beginning to fill up with water, which suggested it was a geological phenomenon related to sinkholes or sudden blasts of methane mixed with salt water at the level of the water table,  some were bone dry.

As  you can see,  some holes have hard floors, no water coming in,  and very oddly,  the bottom is extremely flat.   Flat is not something that you could have if there were an explosion of some kind.

This is more like a giant “plug” of soil was taken out of the earth.   But some “plugs” of removed earth do not have round circumferences.


Well,  kind of round.  Maybe that’s a snow drift hanging over the edge.

But  —


—   this has definitely square edges.

Now, apparently we should believe that these are random methane explosions, methane mixed with salt water, as I said above.   They repeat it over and over in the narrations, even though it doesn’t quite fit the description of the holes, and even though there are no known   (not yet discovered) methane deposits right there, and even though the nearest natural gas fields are many kilometers away,  sometimes hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away – so just . . .  not in the vicinity.

And they don’t look like explosions.    There are no burn marks around the edges and no residue of burnt material.   The edges show that some soil has spilled out, but not blown out or exploded out.    And where is the rest of the material that used to be in the hole?

They’re not sinkholes.    The geology in the area  is wrong for sinkholes, and sinkholes just don’t look like these do – and they have rough, jagged sometimes water-filled bottoms.

I have no answers.    I think it’s fun.     I think it’s still a mystery.

Look it up:  Yamal; holes; Russia. . .   (whatever).









February 25, 2016

 (Just a little photo journal  . . .)

I’ve had one long 32-hour distraction!


It started yesterday with the beginning of our little snowstorm.   Looked up about noon, over my computer keyboard, out the window — and that was the end of all my work.  Can’t concentrate when there’s so much going on outside!

It seems all day long I just went from window to window as though I had never seen a snowstorm before.  The snow and the wind made such beautiful scenes and patterns –


The pond was no longer good for ice skating and hockey,  but all day there was a swirl of changing patterns.  I don’t know what the aquamarine color was,  but it was a nice touch.  No.    No blue sky to reflect into the ice.


The little weed tree at the edge of the pond was getting coated with thick, heavy, sticky snow.   Rather artistic for a “weed.”.

I checked the azaleas just outside the bay window:


Well, they kind of looked the same as the little weed tree at the edge of the pond.

I went to the front of the house:


I have a Snowball Bush!       Bloomin’ snowballs.

The snow came all day,  sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  I thought in order to keep up with it,  I’d have to shovel the driveway two or three times while it’s falling, or else I’d never be able to move it all at once.  It was wet and heavy!

Of course, this heavy, wet, sticky snow is good for rolling and packing so now I have —


—  a Snow Bear!

Okay, you can hardly see a white Snow Bear in a snowstorm,  but I had to alternate snow shoveling with . . . some fun.   Came in soaking wet,  just like when I was a little girl.

Today brought pretty much an end to the snowfall,  but we still  had wind,  shadows, patterns, and interesting things.   First I wanted to see how much snow this area got.


Mid-morning light shows 9 1/2 inches on the ruler.

Everything was covered with snow or painted with snow.


I think the neighbors across the street won’t mind if I show you their landscaping shrubs:


Well, as seen through snow falling.

Then I turned to my backyard pond.   It didn’t look the same today!


Same aquamarine color but darker in a different lighting –  and what are those circles!


As I kept going back to check on the snow patterns in the pond,  the sun came out —


So now we have patterns of gray shadows crossing the giant “lily pads.”

The sun added a whole new range of things to look at.    The temperature dropped,  the snow got lighter and dryer,  and as the wind swirled the snow into the air from off the rooftops and trees,  the sunlight lit up each of the tiny frozen particles, and it seemed like the air was filled with a million glittering little diamonds.

I’m not sure even the finest painter could capture the beauty of a bright sunlit snow scene, after a snowstorm,  with the wind still blowing.

You would have to start with paper that is light gray and blue, and then use brushes dipped in all shades of white, and maybe a little silver.


The scene is no longer fuzzy and dark and subdued,  but bright and full of contrasts.  And if you were an artist,  you’d have to remember to save the brightest white for the forest floor where the sun shines down full onto it.

We’ll lose all this in a few days.   We’re going to have a warming trend.  40 degrees and more.   Not good.   These photos will be my only memory.   Fleeting beauty!

banner for Himself.jpg 27

Kind of a nice bright interlude in the middle of Lent!






November 18, 2015

Now comes a period of some heavy introspection.

Seen through the eyes of autumn duties of a homeowner —

This is the story of my home:

Sandstone house

Home:     A man.   Or a woman.  Or a man and a woman.   Man and woman and children.    Later,  man and woman, children moved out.   Then . . .  woman.


One day this summer Son “gifted me” with this beautiful lawn — or rather the nice, even stripes on the lawn.   I was having trouble doing the whole yard by myself (for a while this summer)  and he took over the hard outdoor work, setting up a nice lawn for me to enjoy.

I’ve learned that,  for anything valuable,  there is a lot of work to do, not just to set it up,  but to maintain . . .


I like using this kind.   It’s quieter and the lawn seems to like it,  if you’re sensitive to “outcomes.”     Our marriage was rather easy to “set up” but required constant, sometimes costly maintenance,  and you had to always be sensitive to the results of what you were doing.

Eventually,  sunset comes.


And the leaves fall off the trees.



And it’s time to pick up the pieces.    You know?




One of my favorite photos of Hubbie is of him, several  years ago,  raking leaves.   He shouldn’t have been doing it because he was already struggling with his heart condition,  but I think he was enjoying a beautiful Fall day as much as I enjoy this season too.  Besides,  he was wearing my favorite shirt that I liked to see him in:  a soft, light tan and brown flannel shirt.  I could hardly keep my hands off of it!      He liked it too, probably because of all the hugs he got!  But I ran in and got my camera because I wanted to remember him like that,  that day,  raking leaves.

Last night’s work was just the light “cleaning up.”  I had done a lot of the more serious, heavy leaf-raking in the weeks before.    I enjoyed working in the evening.  It was somewhat warm, a little windy.  Good surroundings to do some thinking and sorting things out while I raked the leaves.

If felt like “clearing away” the last debris lying on the lawn,  also lying around in my mind.



But I never rake leaves, now, without thinking of Hubbie, and the last Fall season of his life.

I had made an enormous leaf pile as things were getting darker.    I love to rake leaves.   Strange, huh?  Good honest exercise, fresh air,  and the repetitive work that is so good for thinking.

But Hubbie had a different idea.   For some reason,  he liked to use the very loud,  very heavy . .  . leaf blower!     He bought it.  He liked it.  And that was okay until five years plus two weeks ago.

Beginning of November, 2010.    His heart was so weak.  He had so little strength yet, and he knew something that none of us knew, or wanted to know.     I had become very protective of him, or of his heart.   I told him that at this stage, “exercising your heart”  doesn’t make it stronger, like other muscles;  it makes it weaker,  using up what function is left there.

And so that day, five years and two weeks ago,  I went  outside and  got him to stop using that heavy, noisy,  irritating thing;  and he agreed to come in and “take a rest.”

I fed him —  my “secret weapon”  to make him sleep for a while.   Oh, yes, I was all crafty ulterior motives back then,  anything to protect that heart of his.

And a couple hours later, while I was busy somewhere else in the house,  I heard a familiar sound.

The leaf blower again.

This time I rushed outside and actually grabbed the leaf blower out of his hands.  I had never done anything so bold before;  so decisive;  so certain.   I didn’t act that way around him.    (Sensitive to the outcomes,  remember? I know what my “lawn” likes.)

We had a talk.   We were inexperienced and innocent about things like “terminal health.”

We decided to call his doctor the next day and ask for “a prescription for oxygen,”  like the oxygen which saved his life a few years before when we were up on a mountaintop, attending our daughter’s wedding.


That’s us.  8,300 feet up, wedding site accessible only by ski lift.    It suited the young couple’s lifestyle.    But not Hubbie’s struggling heart.   He needed an oxygen tank.

It worked then . .  . .









March 31, 2015

Raptor:   falcon,  hawk,  eagle,  kestrel,  buzzard . . .  I shall just use the word “falcon.”


Falconry is a sport in which a man participates in the joy of the Hunt with his  trained falcon.  It’s a hunting sport shared by bird and man.    The
bird is a raptor,  and he is doing what he was created to do — to hunt for his prey  which becomes his food.


The falcons used in the sport are well-cared for and well-trained,  but they are wild, and one must use utmost caution and respect — and protective
The falcons are often hooded while they’re being trained and while they are being transported to the hunting area.

Falcon hooded
The birds are not frightened under this hood because they hear the voice and verbal signals of his trainer.  There is a kind of learned trust between the
two:   (“You human creature  reliably satisfy some of my needs so I won’t tear your throat out“).

The sport has existed for thousands of years on every continent, and there have always been teachers and students,  methods and skill sets,   schools of
thought,  and  falconry clubs.    You need a lot of room for this sport!  These men are each carrying their falcon.


So,  why?  What are these people experiencing?

To  touch and stroke the warm, strong body of such a creature;  to control its responses after patient, persistent training;   to learn its habits and desires; to gain its trust.  To be able to communicate with a natural killing machine like that is to  break through the boundaries that separate species.  


The raptor is a strong, efficient killer,  given extraordinary eyesight that is exquisitely sensitive to movement;  given strong muscles for flying,
vibrating with tense readiness for making the kill, and for tearing apart the food; and a single-minded focus on its prey.


“Its single-minded focus on its prey” — That is,  its biological urgency for food,  and when once satisfied, there soon follows the need for more and then more.  The falcon’s  life is a quest to satisfy that need – or it will die.
falcon eating

Whether trained or not,   this is what falcons do.   Falconry gives us the ability to appreciate this creature by sharing some of the joy and triumph of
the Hunt for what is needed.

My own favorite kind of raptor  (heh – as you probably know):


Now, I don’t believe for a minute that humans ever dragged women by the hair out of their caves to satisfy some desires,  nor do I believe that humans
tore into the flesh of dead carcasses to satisfy their need for food.    Not even “millions of years ago.”      The human intellect separates us – irrevocably –  from the animals. 

It’s true we are born with a similar desire to satisfy our physical needs,  but we’re also born with desires for other needs which we long to satisfy:
Friendship, Love,  Knowledge, Truth, Beauty, Wisdom,  Joy,  Spiritual Peace.   And all these are names by which our Creator can be known.

We can learn a lot from the majestic raptors.   Created with just the right faculties to satisfy their desires and with a single-minded focus on
obtaining what they want.

St. Francis deSales,  the gentle, loving saint,  teaches us that we too should look to the falcon and ask ourselves, “How much do we want the Goodness of God?”   with what desire?    with what strength of will?
Bar wavy

How much . . . ?

Like the hart running through the woods,  panting and thirsty,  longing for that clear spring water flowing in the brook.    *

Like a Lover longing to be near his Loved One.   **

Like an individual, alone,  longing to be known, to be heard,  longing to be touched by the One who made him.   ***


Book Open clipart


*     (Psalm 41:1  — or 42:1,  Jewish numbering)

**   (Canticles  7:10  —  or:  Song of Solomon 7:10, Protestant naming)

***  (Psalm 76:1   —  or:  77:1,  Jewish numbering)



March 20, 2015

Just as yesterday was a special day in Christendom,   today is a special day for the astronomical world.

When we survey our world, we talk of beautiful things in the “heavens above and the earth  beneath.”    It’s poetic.     The “heavens above”  are filled with things we can see, like the birds (and the airplanes) and the clouds and the moon and the sun….

geese blueThe “highest heavens”  often refer to that region in space where there are things we can’t rightly see without the help of powerful telescopes and charts and diagrams, and it reaches way out to the edge of known space at the borders of the next dimension,  far beyond where this quarantined Earth exists.    It’s the realm that angels transverse — or maybe other unknown beings —  and is more a concept than a geographical “space.”

And Heaven . . .  that is a term used to describe where God is, and where we cannot be — in this life.    It is Other and Eternal and All-Good.

Today our triple treat comes from the nearest heavens, that which we can see.   This is where the moon revolves around the earth and the earth-moon system revolves around the sun.  Sometimes all three heavenly bodies line up in a straight line, and that’s called syzygy.   Cool word!

Here is a New Moon syszygy.    We would see a very dark moon in the sky.

syszygy today

During some times of syzygy,  the moon is directly in the way of our sun, we get a Full Moon,  and being the same apparent size as the sun,  the moon blocks our view.

eclipseThat happened today and could be seen in full in northern Europe, especially towards the Arctic Circle.    (Europe’s electrical grid relies on solar power for as much as 20% in some places.   Did the grid hold?    Did it flicker?)

So the first “treat” is this is the day of a total eclipse.

The second treat happens because the moon revolves around the earth, but not in a perfect circle.   It is  slightly off, a slightly flattened circle.    So sometimes the moon is just a little closer to the earth than at other times.   When the moon is as close to the earth as it can be, following its pathway,  we call that  perigee.

The second treat?      When syzygy and perigee happen on the same day  we have a Supermoon!


A syzygy can give us either a new moon (very dark)  or a full moon (the very brightest.     Unfortunately,  this unusually large, bright moon, called a Supermoon,  is best detected by astronomical instruments,  not our naked eye.     (Camera shots and atmospheric magnification notwithstanding.)

The third treat  is also best understood with instruments and maps and charts – that is,  it’s intellectually known.  Today is the day of the Vernal Equinox,  when the direct rays of the sun fall  on our equator.     There,  daytime and nighttime should be an equal amount of hours.   The equinox is a kind of astronomical halfway point between deepest winter and highest summer.

Well, here’s an uninspiring chart of the rays of the sun hitting directly perpendicular at various points on the earth.   Try to imagine that the earth is in motion, and the sun, relatively speaking, is not.   Because our planet is tilted at about a 23 1/2 degree angle,  the direct rays of the sun land perpendicularly in different places each day.

earth equinoxesSo there’s our Triple Treat for today,  March 20, 2015:

1.  Total Eclipse of the sun  

2.  A Supermoon

3.  The Vernal-Spring Equinox

Spring flower banner

Happy Spring!   


March 3, 2015

(It’s a trick.   The title of this post is a trick.)

It’s true I enjoyed hearing an important world leader speak today, with maturity and intelligence.      One doesn’t have to agree with everything he said to be able to recognize masculine clarity in his manner of speaking.  I think what he said is what he means.  Trustworthy.   A non-Marxist manner of speaking.

But he is a prime minister with stature.

Here is a “president” with stature:

Sequoia The President people in

Yes, this gigantic tree has a name:  The President. 

The tree was so named to imitate the great stature and respect evoked by a president,  presumably any great president of this former republic.

The President grows in Sequoia National Forest,  not too far from my grandson.   Maybe I’ll visit it some day in person.   The President has just become larger than another great Sequoia,  the Grant.      As in Ulysses S.  of the Republic of the United States of America.

In winter:

Sequoia all

Notice the tiny little man at the foot of The President?   That is an amazingly magnificent and powerful tree!

Gray on top:

Giant Sequoias
These venerable trees with their crowns in the gray mist remind us that age and maturity are to be venerated.   (Although not in a marxist-saturated culture,  but that’s another lesson.)   

It is to our sorrow that this magnificent tree was called The President because of its great stature, like a president of America used to have.   Perhaps a little sardonic humor is in order:    I wonder if we could reverse this naming.     I wonder if we could name that Buraq Hussein person who sits at the desk of our presidency  “Sequoia Tree”  —   would that have any effect?     Giant Tree?   Tree?

On a serious note,   parents have always named their children for some great person or quality which they hope will help the child along its way to maturity.    The inspiration of a famous person, perhaps.   The Israelites named their children for the Most High God or for His work.    Catholic parents name their children for a virtue or for a saint which may help to guide the child.

“The President.”    Indeed.


February 16, 2015

8 days?   One of the longest silences The Spruce Tunnel has experienced.  Sorry for that.   If I listed all the bad things, difficult things, dangerous things,  frustrating and fearful things that have been going on here in such a short time,  it would sound like a “storm” has been swirling around me.   A storm made of elements bigger than I am.

Some of them will eventually work out well;  some will not.


I’d rather write about this storm, that swirled up and down my street yesterday, same weather front that millions of Americans are experiencing.   There are storms like this — and there are “storms”  of another kind.

I wanted to stay home because of my “storms.”     Shelter and hide.       It was looking too bad out there.   But I needed about three minutes of Wi-Fi, that’s all,  but it would be worth going out;   and it could be an adventure driving through the snow clouds that whirled around, driven across the street by strong, frigid winds.


I had to climb through these to get to my car.    Broom, shovel, scraper in hand,  “storms”  bring a lot of extra work just to be able to keep on going.

I didn’t know if these were snowbanks or snowdrifts along the side of my driveway —


—  but I could see some beauty in the patterns  —  even though  I had to battle the elements just to get into the car.    The icy wind found its way under my hat, through my scarf,  past my gloves,  and up into my arms  . . .   Bare skin!     Brrrrrrrr.

I adjusted all my “protection”  many times while I tried to uncover my car.    Just like Nehemiah’s strong young men  building the city walls of Jerusalem with a trowel or shovel in one hand and a sword to fight off the enemies in the other hand,  so I was trying to keep my scarf and coat on while using the scraper and broom.

When storms swirl around you, expect to get really, physically tired!

Once out onto the highway, though, I was astonished:    The roads were a little okay, but they were busy.   Lots of cars, lots of other people out in the storm.   All the parking lots I passed were filled!    Stores, restaurants, gas stations — all looked busy.

Everyone was going about their business as though there was no storm?


Here are the snowbanks along the side of the parking lot I was aiming for.   The snowbanks were twice as high as my car,  but I can’t show you that;    it was too cold to get out and do something as frivolous as taking a picture.   You can’t always do the things you want when there are “storms.”

In the midst of the swirling wind,  the sun came out, and this line of trees caught my attention as I came out of the store:


So, on the way home I marveled at how many people were out, as though it were any busy Saturday on a nice day.   They didn’t seem to be doing  anything different. . . .

And that made me nervous.

I’m seeing storms of all kinds,  surrounding us,  swirling around us,  threatening us,    and . . . life goes on.

There was a man in the parking lot that I was just leaving.   He got out of his car, began to walk, and a big gust of wind blew a cloud of icy snow into him.  He wore an overcoat, unbuttoned,  over a business suit.    The wind nearly tore his coat off.    He was not dressed for the storm.

He and many others had not prepared for the “storms.”    


I arrived home,  between wind gusts.   Things were calmer for a while.   Mission accomplished with the Wi-Fi.   I took home with me the memory of people walking around amidst the swirling clouds of snow, leaning into the wind,  grasping their coats close to them, but nevertheless,  going about their business.

I deliberately took into my house with me the sense of normalcy amidst the storm.

“Bias to the Normal.”     A survival technique.



February 2, 2015

While we were busy watching the Super Bowl  on Sunday,  our weatherman was busy steering 13 inches of snow into my little town.


Then,  as often happens the day after a blizzard,  the skies become clear and blue.  The bright sun cast beautiful dark contrasting shadows onto all the snow;   black tree trunks and branches  on a snow white palette.    Monochrome modern art.      I turned my cell phone on to get some photos, but by the time I remembered to take a picture,  the sun had moved away from my front yard.

But the sunshine delighted in my backyard too.   One patch and one branch.


That’s an untouched photo.    Did you know shadows can be so blue?

A few minutes later,  along the “shore” of my little pond,  the sun made a bright little chain as it got lower in the sky:


And now tonight,  the sun is gone,  but the snow is lit from within by my deck railing lights.

SAMSUNGAt just the right angle you can see a claw-like shadow on the floor of the deck.    The claw is a moon-shadow from a tree branch above.  A little eerie out there under bright moonlight.



January 30, 2015

There is no easy way to segue out of my past horrible week of death and Hell  and victimization by a criminal element working from within our State government.

But being with people helps.

Bubble Lost in a

My classes.    My friends.    My grandson in that photo – in a big bubble in a pool.


Science helps too.   Look at the water up there in that pool.   Or:

fractal smoke

And after all my troubles  I can still smile thinking about Son and I out there in the midnight cold, doing our astronomy,   looking for the asteroid….

And then there are these things:

fractals vortex
I re-read last week’s “Saturday Rant”  about the information black-out we are generally subjected to,    and thought I should “refine”  it a little bit.   Our Rulers disagree with most of the American people, and so I wrote about how they censor information, so we think we’re alone and weak.     I had written  “…more importantly for the continued existence of our Republic which depends upon a Free Press…”  were the people in my classes who didn’t get to  see the recent March For Life demonstration.

Ha ha!!   —   Are the people in my classes so important that if THEY cannot see all of the news themselves,  our Republic might fall?   Ha Ha Ha

fractals rug

The existence of America depends upon the people I know!

fractals blue

No, really,   The people in each of my classes ARE that important.  And so are the people in any group that you know of.    The people in your family gathering.   The people in your office or shop.   A random sampling of people on the sidewalk that you are  on.    Your religious congregation.

It’s not just that ANY group of Americans are vital to the preservation of our Republic.   It’s not just that we believe that EVERY citizen is important.     Beyond that, deeper than that:

It’s the fractal dimension.
I’ve been showing you pictures of fractals.  A fractal is more than just repeating patterns.    A fractal illustrates that any one small segment or portion of something contains within it information for the whole.

That’s my non-mathematical definition.

fractal smokies

Ahhhh…the beautiful Smokies!

At the foothills of a mountain range,  pick up a tiny, tiny piece of … like, sand.     It’s a miniature rock.   And it contains within its contours and components the whole mountain range.

fractal mountains

The edges of a wave in the ocean exemplifies wave action of all waves in their totality.

fractals spiral waves

Smear some oil into a mud puddle.  (That’s the kind of science I like to do!)     Then a small penny-size portion looks just like the entire pattern of the colorful oil film.
Too many photos?

Want some math?     (This fractal thing is real.)

The math involves Julia Sets:      The function for certain Julia sets is: f(z)=z^2+c.   That’s it.   The new complex coordinate is set to the old one squared plus “c”. What is c? It is simply a complex number, and it can have any value you like. Different c values produce different Julia sets. Let’s use (1 + 1i) as c. So, if we were to start with the point (2 + 1i), the first iteration would be:


(2 + 1i)^2 + (1 + 1i)=

2*2 + 2*1i + 2*1i + 1i*1i + 1 + 1i=

4 + 2i + 2i + 1(-1) + 1 + 1i=

5 + 5i -1=

4 + 5i

So the first iteration brings us to (4 + 5i). We can do it again now.

f(z)=f(4 + 5i)=

(4 + 5i)^2 + (1 + 1i)=

4*4 + 4*5i + 4*5i + 5i*5i + 1 + 1i=

16 + 20i + 20i + 25(-1) + 1 + 1i=

17 + 41i – 25=

-8 + 41i

So our second iteration gives us (-8 + 41i). We continue to do this . . . .

Thanks to  this Website …


Don’t forget the point I was making.   (I almost did!)    Enjoy the pretty pictures.  Look up some more fractals on the Web.   But remember,  my classes,  or any group of people:    each person in your life,  is   “like”  a fractal.    They are representative of the whole.   Thus:

You cannot “love the world.”   Love the person next to you.

You cannot “feed the hungry”  Feed the hungry one next to you.

You cannot rail against censorship and ignorance.   Inform the friend who you are talking with.   Spread the word.  Spread the truth about your Creator, without fear.   Spread the truth about our wonderful country (or your wonderful nation).   Spread the truth about morality and virtue and good citizenship.   Spread the word that Life is to be cherished and protected and celebrated.

Our Rulers do not.

It’s up to us to stop censorship and political correctness.

Each of us is important.   Each of us is representative of the whole.