Country Roads, Americana: The Poudre River Trail, Colorado Friday, Dec 2 2016 

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The river follows the course outlined by the trees beyond. 

A week ago today, our Colorado kids took us along the Cache a la Poudre River trail on the high plains of Colorado just west of Greeley and east of the mountain foothills.  Back home this time of year, the landscape is still green, so the pervasive brown color of dead grass and leafless trees was striking.  The frost-chilled air nipped at our fingers and toes, too—-our thin Gulf Coast blood was tested by the cold.

What did  wagon train settlers from the east think of this landscape in an earlier century of American history?  Many of those courageous souls who settled the West came through these parts; they likely drew water from this stream as they camped along its banks, as they gazed at the purple haze of imposing mountains looming on the western horizon.

This landscape echoes the wild American West of history.  These waters flow sacred.  We were honored to hike along this portion of its course.

No trail? No problem! Thursday, Nov 24 2016 

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Really?  It sure looked like a trail, so we followed it to the top.

The courageous are undeterred by a worthy challenge; in fact, they’re inspired and motivated by the opportunity to overcome trying circumstances.  In that spirit of inspiration and motivation, my ladies and I assaulted this trail in spite of this signpost’s proclamation that it wasn’t a trail—-and in the process of our daring-do, we conquered the steep, red-rock crest of Devil’s Backbone in the Rocky Mountain foothills.  

We were pleased with our achievement!

Country Roads, Americana: The Great Plains Winter “Brownscape” Wednesday, Nov 23 2016 

img_0782Behold the Great Plains of northern Colorado, entering the winter season where brown spreads away to all points of the horizon: kinda pretty if you’re not used to brownscapes.

Personally, I favor the brown—-it’s the earthy poetry of rural Americana, an enchanted landscape at deserved rest from its spring and summer labors when it nurtured amber waves of grain.

Roll on, winter prairie at rest!  Repose, for spring will return in due season.

The Eve of Adventure: Allons! Monday, Nov 21 2016 

We’ve never done anything more exotic for Thanksgiving than drive a few hours to family gatherings.  Tomorrow, we venture on a bolder holiday plan as we brave air travel from Louisiana to Colorado.

img_0692In preparation today, I finished the mid-fall yard work, washed the car to shine on the lot at LFT while we’re gone, polished off the laundry, finalized arrangements with the dog sitter, and packed for the trip.  We’re set.

In the past, I resisted the idea of holiday air travel.  Excessive fares, the possibility of weather complications, the reality of holiday airport congestion—-all were unsettling and discouraging.  But we rolled the dice a couple of months ago since we’re really lonesome for our daughter (and she for us) and reserved the trip.  The weatherman has been kind considering our plans, giving us clear travel days going as well as returning, and even the days in between.

So on the morrow, as the old folks in Acadiana would say, “Allons.”

 

Metathanksgiving: Giving thanks for thanksgiving? Friday, Nov 18 2016 

thanksgiving-bible-verseGood feelings reign this Friday before Thanksgiving week.  I find myself retired with a life-long pension, rehired with a salary to do my life’s calling, and now facing a week long paid holiday vacation to be followed by a two-week Christmas/New Years vacation four weeks from now.

I can handle this!

Let us then give thanksgiving for Thanksgiving!

Public Service, or Vainglory? Saturday, Nov 12 2016 

The politics of the recent Presidential election totally aside, I heard a news commentator a couple of days ago comment on Hillary’s career, noting she had been committed to public service for 35 years.

What public service?

Did she make midnight rides with some fire department, helping fire-fighters fight blazing homes and rescue families within them?

Did she stand back-up for  policemen responding to  violent domestic disputes between two  drunken or doped-up crazies who were prepared to shoot someone intervening in their scuffle as earnestly as they were prepared to shoot one another?

Did Hillary spend a few semesters teaching at-risk students in an impoverished school district in the rural Deep South or the urban Northeast?  Or somewhere else?

Or maybe she did a tour in Afghanistan where she patrolled the scary streets of some hostile province inhabited by vicious people devoted to killing Americans?

Those are all examples of public service as I understand public service.  But I didn’t notice

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This is not the  gracious countenance of a public servant!

any of that going on in her very public career the past 35 years.  On the contrary, she strikes me  as one driven after power, influence,  wealth, and political achievement.

If that be the case, then call her career political pursuits or governmental administration: the word service suggests that the one providing the service gave up something, sacrificed something, or acted out of a servant spirit.

But please, don’t suggest that a vainglorious career politician is a public servant.  To call high-level political ambition service is  gratuitous, disingenuous, even offensive, when we consider the true meaning of service.

Election Day Relief Tuesday, Nov 8 2016 

Relief, not from a favored candidate winning over another, but simply from an end to the vitriol, the nasty attack ads, the intellect-insulting spin (from all sides), the bombastic claims and accusations.  Enough!  Life is too short to stress over politics.

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The pundits are going crazy with their analysis.  But not me—-Life’s too short!

I rest me in the thought that God—-not Republicans or Democrats—–rules history and eternal destiny.  I don’t even know the election results at the hour of this post, but in the scope of eternity, so what?

Farewell, DST 2016: We’ll miss your daylight! Saturday, Nov 5 2016 

God gave us a crisp, sun-filled autumn afternoon for back yard patio dwelling on this last day of DST.  Tonight we’ll roll the clocks back an hour in this annual ritual observed the first weekend of each November.

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A lovely last-afternoon of DST  isn’t a fittting trade-off for the next 6 months of shortened days.

An extra hour of sleep tonight may be the only joy in the time transition since tomorrow evening begins the depressing  season of shortened days as we head into the winter gloom  of early sunsets.  Our daze will be far too short for the next six months without our cherished late -afternoon sun—-Gloom, despair, and agony untold as we wait for spring!

Remember the Sabbath . . . Saturday, Oct 29 2016 

to keep it holy!

I’m all for that!  And  the original Sabbath ordained in Moses’s day was  Saturday. The Christian church altered the pattern when it made Sunday the church-going day, but no authority re-designated the Sabbath as Sunday (at least to my knowledge?).

Later, Jesus clarified the Pharisees’ corruption of Sabbath Day holiness and legalism by reminding them (and us) that Sabbath was made for man.

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Our back yard on Sabbath is not Adam’s and Eve’s Garden of Eden, but it is Sarah’s, David’s, Sadie’s, and Marley’s!

So here’s how I see it: Today is Saturday, and I am man, so this is my day.  I will keep it holy by recreating my mind, by exercising my body, and by restoring my spirit.  I feel like that’s what God had in mind way back yonder in Eden.

Praise and thanks to God for Sabbath!

The Teacher as Grandparent: Humble Rewards of the Profession Tuesday, Oct 25 2016 

pumpkin“Humble rewards of the [teaching] profession” has been a revisited blog theme since I started posting in 2006.  The beat goes on in the 37th year!  Today, my Fine Arts senior class sat on the sidewalk with kindergartners to carve pumpkins.

The little ones and big ones alike sat in the gravel-strewn, dusty walk-way, cramming their arms up to their elbows in the pumpkins to hollow out the  innards.  They made a delightful mess together.

A few years ago, I’d have noticed only the little ones.   But at this advanced career phase as an experienced grandparent,  the senior big kids are just as precious.  Chere babies all!

Blessed are those who teach, for theirs are the humble rewards.

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