Is It Old Age?

The country is more of a wilderness, more of a wild solitude, in the winter than in the summer. The wild comes out. The urban, the cultivated, is hidden or negatived.” – John Burroughs

I am a lover of the winter. The beauty of Mother Earth covered in fresh snow causes the spirit within me to move and feel alive.

I turn 66 in a couple of months. My body is occupied by arthritis caused by years of abuse. The cold wind cuts through me like it never has before. It magnifies the pain within my joints and makes everyday life more difficult. I guess it was just a matter of time.

For the first time in my life I am actually looking forward to the spring temperatures that will usher my old friend winter out and let the warming air of spring begin to blow across Mother Earth.

It is partially fueled by my love of the river and searching for that elusive record bass. Camping on a gravel bar partaking of the delicious scents of the river. Engrossed in the tranquility and peace that soothes my soul and enriches my spirit. Gazing into the beauty of the night sky hoping to see a falling star. Listening to the nocturnal creatures that are found along the banks of the river as they go about foraging for food and warning others of the intruder among them.

Floating down the river in my yak experiencing the transformation to spring. Marveling at the beauty of the river influenced by the changing season. The redbud and the dogwood begin to paint the countryside with their blooms manifesting on the branches that were bare in the winter months. The warmth of the sun soothes my arthritic joints as I wonder who had been here before me.

Yes it is hard for me to imagine but I am actually looking forward to the coming of spring and saying goodbye to my old friend winter.

Some Thoughts on Life

“Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” – Gary Keller

One definition of life according to Merriam Webster: The physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.

I don’t think it makes any difference if you are born rich or poor, your life will be a product of your decisions. It is a fact that in your early years your decisions will be greatly influenced by your parents. The final decision rests squarely on your shoulders.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

There are so many that try to achieve happiness through materialistic things. They think that a new 3500 square foot home or $80,000 new vehicle will be their answer to their quest for happiness and in the end happiness is nowhere to be found. We need to change our way of thinking in our pursuit of happiness.

In my humble opinion I believe we should take the time to explore ourselves and get to know what really makes us happy. What you like and don’t like in life. Feed the “likes” and change the “don’t likes”. Happiness starts within our hearts. The seed is there we just have to give it what it needs to grow.

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

I know I have heard many people say set your goals high and you will achieve more. I have come to believe that is the wrong decision to make. I think they should be realistic and when we reach them we can set higher goals but within reach.

As we struggle to meet unrealistic goals we start to become depressed. We lose our “belief” and begin to think “is life really worth it.” At this point it is essential to get that “belief ” back in our way of thinking.

Everyone makes bad decisions in their life. We have to learn from these. If we don’t we learn nothing from the experience. We and only we are responsible for our decisions. We also need to take responsibility even for our bad decisions. Quit putting the blame on others.

In closing I would like to say we need to resurrect “common sense” and “respect”. Most importantly we have to learn to love one another.

Note: this is just an opinion of a retired farrier concerning life. It is meant to provoke the minds of those who read it to form their own opinions.

My Hiding Place

The river is my sanctuary. When I am sitting on a gravel bar at 3 in the morning, looking up at the stars I sometimes feel like I am the only person on earth.

As I sit there I listen to the soothing song of the crickets, tree frogs, and bull frogs and begin to meditate. I clear my mind of negativity. I feel a calmness around me. I don’t have much but I have this special place to come to and heal my mind, spirit and soul. A recharge of sorts.

As I sit there looking into the fire my mind begins to wander. I wonder if anyone else has camped here? Did they appreciate it? Did they relish the silence, or did the silence scare them?

Did anyone sit here and drink in the night sky filled with stars and are they as elated as I am when I see a star fall from the heavens?

The river is a mystical place for me. It’s a place where I can become one with Mother Nature.

There is so much life on the river.

The important part is I feel safe here. Even alone on a sandbar in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark, I am in my element, my safe place. Everyone should have a place like this to go to. It boosts your mental state and improves your peace of mind.

It can be a studio you do your art work in, a den where you put your inner thoughts on paper. It may be your quilting room or in a flower or vegetable garden. It may be on the back of your favorite equine. It is a safe place where you can have peace of mind and healing. It should be a calming place where you shed all the negativity that you have been carrying. Your place.

Feel free to tell us about your safe place in the “comments” section. It will be interesting to see the variety of hiding places used to get right with yourself and deal with the negativity of the world. A place to fill your heart, soul, spirit, and mind with love.

The River is Calling

I know I write a lot about the river. It is a big part of my life. I know it is hard for some to understand my passion for the river. For those that don’t have a chance to enjoy the river I hope you can get to experience it through my writing.

I love to be on the river at early dawn. Just as the fog starts to lift off the river. You can hear the fish hitting the top of the water partaking of their morning breakfast.

Songbirds fill the morning air with their beautiful music and the squawk of a Heron can be heard.

The river is my utopia and my kayak is my yacht. The world seems so perfect there. I have watched deer cross the river 10 yards in front of me. Watched beaver hard at work and have had Bald Eagles fly above me. One early morning I had an otter swim up and put his paws on the side of the kayak.

I can sit for hours and listen to the sound of the water working it’s way through the riffles. I can feel the tension start to melt as I begin to relax. There is so much that goes on at the river.

It’s a place one can go to take the time to know themselves better.

It’s a place to shed your troubles and worries.

It’s a drug you can’t overdose on.

It’s a place that can cause you to be overwhelmed with joy.

It’s a place where your soul, spirit, and mind can be healed.

In time it is a place of memories.

I am truly addicted to the peacefulness of the river. My love for the river has been around for a long time.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

“Small House Living

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The last day of 2018 is finally upon us and 2019 is waiting in the wings.  It is definitely going to be different for me.  With all the rage about “little house” living I decided to move into a 10 x 14 cabin along with my Great Pyrenes and Australian Shepherd.  It is going to be a challenge I know.

I do have electric but no running water.  I do have access to a shower and bathroom.  I have been living in it for about 2 weeks now and so far so good.  The dogs have a fenced in yard and handle the close quarters real well.  They have adjusted well and I hope to enlarge their fenced in yard real soon.

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I finished the inside of a prebuilt cabin. I chose to do it as economically as possible and have managed to keep it under a thousand dollars. Instead of buying cabinets I made shelves and I have a compost toilet.

It isn’t anything fancy but it is livable and cozy. I heat it with an oil filled electric heater that will run you out of the cabin even with temps in the teens.

I have some property that I want to build on and this adventure will help me see what is important and not when I build my place.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is deeply appreciated. Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. God bless you all.

Time on the River

 

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as darkness gives way to the dawn.

I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of the river.  Due to flooding it is constantly changing but Mother Nature seems to always protect its beauty.  If only man would cherish the river as much as Mother Nature.  The pollution and the trash left behind has grown, adding an ugliness that shouldn’t be there.

“The River… It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.  What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.  Lord! the times we’ve had together.” – Kenneth Grahame

On August 11, I decided to spend a very much needed night on the river.  Temps were in the 90s and humidity was high.  I loaded up and went to Mammoth Access on the Big River in Missouri.  A lot of people on the river and I got a lot of stares.  I have had a round with melanoma so I show up in a long sleeve shirt and jeans and really don’t look like I belong.  I board my yacht and head up river for a much anticipated night of relaxation.

As I paddle I look for spots to set limb lines and a place to make camp for the night.  I opted out of taking a tent and would opt to catnap on board my trusty yak.  After finding places for lines and camp I went to an area to do some bass fishing however the fish didn’t seem to like the smorgasbord I provided for them.  I finally started tight line fishing and waited for dusk to show up at which time I would set and bait lines in hopes of catching some catfish.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as dawn takes over the night.

“A river seems a magic thing.  A magic, moving,, living part of the very earth itself.” – Laura Gilpin

I finally finished getting the lines set and baited around 8:30 p.m.  I then set up camp and  set up for tight line fishing while I waited until time to run my lines.  I like to run my lines every 2 and a half hours.  All I seemed to get was empty lines with no bait.  There was a bait stealer loose in the Big River.  My luck wasn’t much better with my tight line fishing but I did manage to get a good fire started.

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The night got cool enough that the fire actually felt good.

Finally I managed to catch a drum, or stone perch.  I put it on a stringer because I had plans for it.  I also managed to catch a sucker but since it wasn’t high on my culinary preferences I returned it to the river.  They are pretty bony.

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One of Missouri’s suckers.

Around 4:30 a.m. my beef stew MRE had began to wear of so I prepared the fish for breakfast.  I didn’t have anything to cook it in so I improvised and rigged up quite a contraption to cook it with.  I used some green tree limbs and fashioned sort of a spit and cooked it 10 minutes on each side and I am here to tell you it was delicious.

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Breakfast on the river.

The darkness began to give over its control to the rays of sunshine.  I headed out to run my lines and take them out.  As I was running the lines I heard something that sounded just like a lamb.  I use to raise sheep so I know the sound all too well.  I could hear it but couldn’t see it.  finally it broke out of the brush and to may surprise it was a fawn still sporting its spots.  I figured it got separated from its mom and hopefully it wasn’t an orphan.  Then I got my answer.  I hear the bleat of a doe and the fawn spun around and headed back into the brush giving what sounded like a very happy round of bleats.

“A river or stream is a cycle of energy from sun to plants to insects to fish.  It is a continuum only broken by humans.” – Aldo Leopold

All the lines were empty and void of bait but one.  I noticed that it was wrapped over a limb but is wasn’t moving so I figured I had caught one and it wrapped the line around the limb and got off.  I managed to pull the line and limb up but to my surprise the line wasn’t empty.  No sirree!  As it broke the service I found a 20 pound, at least, soft shell turtle hooked by its foot.  This means that its head was free.  Now I am here to tell you when it comes to the length of a neck the giraffe has nothing on a very pissed off soft shell turtle.  Now the pucker factor has kicked in and his neck extends way out, jaws snapping and barley misses my arm.  We wrestled for a while and I was finally able to unhook him and I gave a sigh of relieve that was probably heard in St. Louis.

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Phot of Big River by Double D Acres LLC.

After all the excitement and I calmed down a little I headed up river for about 2 hours and then turned around and fished my way back to the boat ramp.  I managed to catch one small Largemouth bass and that was all she wrote.

It wasn’t a very productive fishing trip but the relaxation and peacefulness I enjoyed was priceless.  Being alone on the river without any distractions is the perfect way I have found to cleanse the soul and recharge the spirit.  I have always said when I die I want to be cremated and my ashes spread in the river.  That is the only place that I can experience a true sense of peace and tranquility.

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I apologize for being a little long winded.  If you get a chance to sit on the bank of a river, close your eyes.  Listen to the running water and feel its energy.  Like us it has a destination.  A beginning and an end.  It has its low times (summer) and high times (floods).  Outside the interference of man, dams and levees, it manages to take out any obstacle in its way to its destination.  We can learn a lot about life from a river.  Remember to spread the love.

 

Nature: The Healer

 

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Big River

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

I have always been drawn to nature ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  I have always had the opportunity to get lost in the allure of nature and fill my mind and spirit with its serenity.  I am truly blessed.

I truly wish that everyone could have a chance to immerse themselves in nature for one week.  No outside interferences and primitive camping only.  I really think it would change peoples lives.  Nature has a way of taking all the negativity you have accumulated and shed it from your inner being.  If you decide you want to do this sometime, I have put together a little something I hope will make it a pleasurable experience for you.

A Guide To Help You Find Yourself

You need a place to camp.  I recommend using state campgrounds in conservation areas.  They usually have walking trails.  Some have creeks, rivers and lakes in them which add to your “things to do list”.  Fishing, kayaking and canoeing become available for you to use.  They make it easy to get lost in nature.

If you are serious about finding yourself, I recommend primitive camping because, in a way it brings us back to the ways of our ancestors.  No electric.  No running water. No TV!  Wow, I heard a lot of moans then.  It really is a humbling experience.  It will make you appreciate a lot of things in your life.  Go by yourself.  Make sure you practice meditation during your time in nature.  It is the perfect venue to use mediation for cleansing your soul, mind and spirit.  A good book doesn’t hurt either.  Now I am not talking A Thousand Shades of Purple or Yearnings of a Desperate Housewife/Husband.  Maybe a self-help book, philosophical, spiritual and thought provoking.

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Camp on 12/16/2017

 

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Camp 12/16/2017

Cook your own meals.  If you don’t like cooking there are some really delicious MREs on the market.  The object of this week long camping trip is to be able to live within your own little world for the whole week so that you won’t be distracted by outside influences or ideas.  This time is to be used for you to find yourself.  Tame your demons and deal with the skeletons in your closet that seem to be holding you back to achieve your dreams.  A good time to evaluate yourself and where you are at in your life.

“Walk in nature and feel the healing power of trees.” Anthony William

 

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Sunrise

Get up before dawn and sit in solitude and watch the sunrise and the beginning of a new day.  Listen carefully as the wildlife begins their day.  Get lost in the sun as it rises in the east and let your imagination run wild.  Track your thoughts and feelings in your journal so that you will have it to remind you of that morning when you are back at the daily grind.

 

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Sunset

Then an hour before sunset make your way to some place you can watch the sunset as  your day comes to an end.  In the solitude absorb all the things that happened that day.  Be sure to add them to your journal.  As the sun slips into the west listen to all the new sounds of the forest as the fingers of daylight recede and succumb to the darkness.  Hear the coyote howling in the distance as the symphony of crickets began their night of music.  Relax and enjoy and clear your mind.  Let the serenity of the night lull you into a peacefulness that is hard to explain.  Once you feel it you will never think the same.

In closing I would like to say I am a realist and know that not everyone would be comfortable in this setting.  If you like the idea and never experienced it please by all means go for it.  You won’t be sorry and you will be a new person.  You will appreciate more in life and you will like yourself better.

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Thanks for reading.  If you have never done this and do take up the adventure please let me know what you thought about indulging in such an undertaking.  Don’t forget to spread the love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature: The Natural Sedative

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“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord  Byron

Ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper I have been fascinated by nature.  It has always had a calming effect on me and when surrounded by it a place to think.  We are lucky to have so much wilderness at our disposal so that we can experience it first hand and not have to just see it in pictures.  There are some people who have never had that opportunity and I am very grateful that I have been able to enjoy it first hand.

I have been lucky enough to view nature from horseback, a kayak and backpacking. When it seemed like the world was closing in on me and I became anxious I would load my horse up and take off some where on the weekend and ride and camp out.  As I would ride along the trails drinking in the beauty of nature I could feel all the negativity in my life melt away and I would become relaxed and refreshed.  The effect nature had on me always amazed me.  It was a natural sedative for the troubles I had bottled up inside of me.

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Big River St. Francois State Park

My favorite gift of nature has to be the river.  It is so easy for me to become one with the river. The water that flows between the banks makes the river and gives life to the river like the blood that runs through my veins gives me life.  I am at peace with myself on the river.  As I drink in the beauty of the river along with its mysteries, my spirit begins recharging itself and my soul awakens making me feel very much alive.  Aggravation begins to shed itself from my mind and I feel a new tranquility surround me.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.  As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” – John Muir

Don’t take my word for it.  Take the time and go out and discover nature for yourself. Close your eyes and listen to everything around you then open your eyes and absorb all the beauty around you into your mind.  You will be glad you did.

“I believe that there is a magnetism in Nature,which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” – Henry David Thoreau

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you liked it please hit the “like” button.  Be kind to one another, spread the love and take time to enjoy nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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