I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God...how my heart yearns within me!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How Great the Art?

Twist but don't shout at Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale

In a recent twist of fate, SAM and I were invited to stay at a distant relative's condo in South Florida. As fate would have it, this invitation coincides with our 35th wedding anniversary. The place is ours to enjoy for the time being, and what a place! I won't post a picture of the inside of the condo since it's not mine to show off, but I will say that the art it contains is inspiring.

Daughter, don't sit under the camellia tree with anyone else but me
 Before we traveled that far south, though, we made a pit[hy] stop in Tallahassee to visit Daughter and her hubby and to deposit Peanut.

Peanut makes herself at home while visiting Daughter and Son-in-law

She (the cat--and possibly I--not the daughter!) has/have put on quite a few excess pounds whilst living up north. Is it the stress of the cold or just living in Illinois that "comPounds" the problem of weight gain? If Peanut could talk, she would probably tell me to take a chill pill and relax. You can't make the wheels of Illinois' state government turn any faster than they are used to moving. Just because Florida could issue a professional license in short order (10 days) doesn't mean that Illinois can or will do the same for me (9 weeks and counting).

Speaking of wheels turning, while waiting on the license, I've been working on a train song. I always have liked that genre for some reason. Daughter gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2013, and I am finally trying to learn how to play the darn thing. Since we gave him a guitar this past Christmas, Grandson and I have been taking lessons together from a teacher employed by Mike's Music in Carbondale, Illinois. Ever since I saw Tommy Emmanuel in concert, I've been wanting to try my hand(s) at the art.

"Trunk art" at Bonnet House in Ft. Lauderdale
I wonder...If this tree we saw at Bonnet House Plantation in Ft. Lauderdale could be turned into an instrument, what song would it sing?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Timing is Everything

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, who met his Maker on this day in 1924
The past several months since we have moved to Illinois have certainly been interesting if not at times overwhelming. Deciding to move (for work), selling a home, buying a home, enduring another Illinois oil industry bust (loss of work), losing a mom (SAM's), telling our son that we have no choice but to "unemploy" him, anticipating another grandchild....

Anyway, I noticed in the local morning paper (Southern Illinoisan) that today is the anniversary of the enactment of the 16th Amendment to the United States' Constitution which, among other things, supposedly buoyed our national confidence and helped fund our involvement in the War to End All Wars (World War I). Yes, indeed, folks, we now (still!) have the privilege of annually (or quarterly, as the case may be) enriching the U.S. Treasury with our hard-earned dollars, or in other words, paying our federal income tax. Thank you, W.W. and your fellow Progressives, for this privilege. We shall forever be indebted to you (and your successors). May God have mercy on your soul(s)!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ferguson By Way of Aughra: "The Two Made One"

While most media outlets are currently focused on the nature of upraised hands (e.g., the St. Louis Rams' silent protest of grand jury decision on Michael Brown case), I got to thinking about one of my walks in Southern Illinois nature before the recent onset of winter-like weather.

SAM and I like to visit a nearby state park and walk around a bit to see what we can see. As you can see, this photo (above), taken sometime in October of this year, reveals a stump extraordinaire. "Go back!" she seems to say. Or "Turn left!" or right, as per your perspective on the situation. As per my comment to a sibling this evening: "Why can't we all just get along?"

I don't know. I guess I'm stumped. Perhaps Aughra has had her outstretched finger (or removable eye, as the case may be) on the right idea all along:

"What was sundered and undone shall be whole, the two made one.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Living Again in a Place Where the Sun Don't Shine (Much--This Time of Year)

Fruit (nut?) from our backyard ginkgo tree
The last time I held out my hand for this blog, Winter was winding up, and we were headed for a place where it tends to linger. Not for long, we thought. Just for a season or two. Yes, the house in Florida is on the market, but it will never sell. We forgot what someone once told my parents who were anxious to sell their house at the time. Something along the lines of: There may not be a house for every fool, but there's a fool for every house.

By the time the house in Florida had sold, we had our eye on an oldy-but-goody one here. Actually, my foolish imagination had an eye on her before we ever saw her. A lovely, grand lady dressed Victorian or Edwardian style floated above SAM's head as he slept. Not literally, of course! She was in my dream, and the next day I found her, solid as a brick house, in a real estate listing online. Initially, SAM must have thought I was nuts. Buy a house based on a dream? Sure honey. I know you're a little shook up about moving from Florida (again), but you want us to buy a house that's more than 100 years old??? 

Okay, so she's not brand-spankin' new, but then neither are we. We've got some mileage on us. Besides, she's had a lot of work done to bring her up to speed. More is needed, mainly outside; I'll grant you that.

Ginkgo fruit, anyone?

Underneath those leaves lurk bushels of ginkgo fruits (imagine the smell)

Most of that work, though, will have to wait until Spring arrives. Hopefully, by that time, the ginkgo-stinko fruit will have dried up. The sun will come out again and warm the soil...

...and the rose bushes will bloom again.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Bird in Hand...

The last (I hope!) of the cruel Winter winds blew this tiny hummingbird into a screen on the North side of our patio a few days ago. He was stuck fast by his tiny beak. I'm not sure how long the poor thing struggled to extricate himself from the screen that held him prisoner. I only wish that I could have found and freed him before it was too late.

A portion of our small veggie and herb garden is climbing high this year on the same arbor that framed our daughter's wedding ceremony on Pensacola Beach last year. Pea and thornless blackberry vines anchor the flimsy structure and provide a foreground for SAM, the perennial lawn care man.  

There is nothing flimsy about these structures under the arbor. They managed to hold up through weeks of wedding preparations as well as a strong sea breeze on that April day a year ago (note the ruffled hair on the sturdy female structure flanking the bride). The flowers and greenery framing them are fake, of course, but the smiles are real. 

We lost most of our tropical plants this past winter, including the palm tree that our former renter planted. It was never meant for this climate. Apparently, she (the renter) wasn't the gifted horticulturist she thought she was. The citrus trees that I planted, pink grapefruit and satsuma, all died as well. Apparently, I'm not the "Master Gardener" I thought I was. I think I'll snip a few leaves from Sweet Melissa (lemon balm) and slink off to make myself some tea. Maybe listen to some Allman Brothers' music too.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Walk This Way on a Fat Tuesday


For nature, crescent, does not grow alone
In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal.

(Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene III)

Right about now, on this Fat Tuesday, the party day known as Mardi Gras is either reaching a feverish crescendo or winding down to a hungover whimper in cities along the Gulf Coast and in various other Catholic strongholds around the world.  I've never understood this headlong, headstrong, mad, crowd rush to feast and drink before a fast. It's not particularly beneficial to one's health and could actually harm someone who is serious about fasting. But then I don't imagine there are too many individuals caught up in the crescendo who flip the coin of feasting to reveal the need for fasting and its companion: Reflection.

I'm glad that I've reached the ripe old age where I have an excuse to escape the partying and parades and settle down with The Good Book, some Shakespeare, or a good blog like Cosmos English Writing Blog. My Japanese blogger friend knows a thing or two about taking a step back from the mad pace of life and finding the tenderness, the sweetness we often miss when we grow up, get caught up, and start to "grow wide withal."

One of my favorite places to turn back and wane my temple is Torreya State Park. We traveled from the west, when the weather was at its best, and took a chance to hike and camp there a few weeks ago. Daughter came, traveling from the east (she wouldn't miss it!) to grace SAM and me with a visit, toting her guitar and musical talent along to sing a song or two and maybe inspire...

A post about Torreya, a place to build a story, after hiking, whilst sitting around the fire.

One of several headstones found near a trail in Torreya State Park