You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.
Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
“Everyone has his or her own opinion and I welcome criticism. That’s why we have freedom of expression and that’s also what I stand for – but I won’t stand for insults.” – Ilkay Gundogan
Talk to the hand because the ears aren’t listening. This seems to be the mantra of today’s society. There use to be a time in this country when two people of different opinions could partake of a little spirited debate and walk away still friends. Not so much anymore. No such thing as peaceful debate. Instead insults and juvenile name calling is more the norm.
Everyone is different. We all have different likes and dislikes. Some people like summer some like winter. There are those that prefer more government and those that prefer less. They are opinions based upon a person’s thoughts and life experiences. It doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong.
The reality is everyone is going to have a difference of opinion. It’s a given and we as a society need to learn to accept it, learn to live with it and move on. We have to learn to agree to disagree.
“The only sin that we never forgive is a difference of opinions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I watch with great sadness as friends and family turn their backs on each other because of their differences of opinions. I myself have been called stupid, ignorant, moron etc. because my opinion is different than theirs.
I won’t apologize for my opinions nor do I expect you to apologize for yours. I am entitled to my opinion and you yours.
I am not responsible for your happiness. I am only responsible for mine. What I am responsible for is to be kind to you and to respect your opinions. No insults or name calling and to love you as I love myself.
It is time for us to stop, take a deep breath, think about what we are doing and fix it. To bury our differences, embrace each other and seek harmony. We need to eliminate the hate that is running rampant in our society. Can it be done? I don’t know but I do know the world would be a much better place and certainly worth the effort.
“Utopias are often only premature truths.” – Alphonse De Lamartine
There are those that think the inequities in our society can be easily solved through a utopian society or government. They believe Utopianism is necessary to improve the human condition. The focus of literary utopias consist of equality in economics, government and justice. It all sounds great but the reality is societies don’t have the same desires and because of this conflict it’s impossible to satisfy society as a whole. In a true utopia everyone lives in harmony.
Is a utopia achievable? In a perfect world, maybe? It would have to be a world void of the hunger for power, greed and emotions. As long as these three are alive and well I for one believe it is highly unlikely that a true utopia could ever exist.
Greater minds than mine through the years have debated if a true utopia could ever exist.
Theodor W Adorno writes: “None of the abstract concepts comes close to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace.”
Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” – Unkown
My maternal grandparents owned a farm in Patton, MO when I was a young un. My grandpa farmed, raised sheep and had some dairy cows.
Across the holler from him lived a brother and sister by the name of Bob and Bert Hinson. Now Bob was a colorful ole gentleman. It was said he made some of the best moonshine that ever crossed your lips. I never grew tired of his stories and he never hesitated to entertain me.
On a ridge that overlooked his farm was a large grove of pines. Bob loved to sit in the middle of the grove, roll him a smoke and listen to the singing of the wind as it swirled through the pines.
I remember during one of my visits Bob asked me if I would like to join him in a visit to the ridge among the pines.
We made our way across the pasture and started our climb to the top of the ridge. Even though he was in his 70s you couldn’t tell it. He climbed the steep ridge with ease.
Once we reached the top we made our way to the center. The sound of the wind singing in the grove filled me with peace. Bob sat in his usual place on a fallen tree in the grove. Once settled in he pulled a rolling paper from his shirt pocket and a can of Prince Albert and filled it with his tobacco of choice.
He opened the Prince Albert can and carefully poured the tobacco into the paper and rolled him a smoke. He lit it and took a long drag. We sat there not speaking a word. We just sat there drinking in our surroundings and the symphony being played by the wind upon the pines. There was a great calm and life was good.
Bob finally took his last drag on his smoke and carefully put it out. He turned to me and said remember this boy, when you are one with nature you have everything you need to enjoy life. He then arose from his perch and we headed back to the house.
That was my last visit with my friend. He passed away shortly thereafter in his sleep. I often wonder what was on his mind that day. Did he know that his visit on earth was coming to a close? I am forever honored that he shared that time in the grove with me on that day. As far as I know that was his last visit to the pine grove. RIP my friend. You are still in my heart.
“I hope I can be like the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” – Dodinsky
We live in such a fast paced world today. Always on the move. No time to enjoy life. We have became a society of instant gratification.
So many people take others for granted and even life itself. We assume that when the sun rises tomorrow everything will be the same. Will it?
We are so busy that we don’t take the time to reach out to friends and family to just hear their voice or to see how they are doing. There is no guarantee that they will enjoy tomorrow. There is no guarantee that any of us will see the next sunrise.
How many times have you entertained the idea of calling them or sending a note or card and you didn’t do it? Then a couple weeks later you hear that death has knocked upon their door.
Life is precious. Friendship is a gift. Celebrate life every day and give thanks that you were given another day to enjoy life, friends and family. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.
Get up early and watch the sunrise or at the end of the day sit, be still and watch the sun set. Stop! Slow down! Take the time to enjoy your life, family and friends. Tomorrow may be to late.
“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ” E.B. White / Letters of E. B. White
At 66 years of age I still prefer primitive camping in my one man tent. I prefer to leave the conveniences of the modern day world at home. Right, wrong or indifferent if I am going to take a camper filled with the luxuries of home then I would rather stay home or just stay in a motel.
I set up camp on my property in Frank Clay, Missouri. It is 12.65 acres filled with oak, hickory, and walnut with patches of sassafras and cedar sprinkled in. There is abundant wildlife, deer, squirrels and turkey.
It is so quiet and peaceful you can hear yourself think. It is my safe place when I can’t go to the river. It is another place I can go to rid my mind of all the negative energy that I let in. Only positive thinking allowed.
The sun is starting to sink in the west so I get busy setting up camp. Once done I start a fire so I can get started preparing supper.
Sweet taters, corn on the cob and Cornish hens. No finer eating than food prepared in Dutch ovens. Once done cleaning up it is time to sit and relax around the campfire.
As I sit in my chair reflecting on my day I hear the lonesome bawl of a hound in the distance. There is a chance of rain in the forecast. There is a cloud bank in the west. I can just make out the sound of distant thunder. Lightning is visible as it dances among the clouds illuminating the night sky. What a glorious light show to see. Absolutely breathtaking.
As I become engrossed in the show Mother Nature has so graciously provided for my entertainment I lose track of all time. A breeze begins to move down the ridge into the valley and arouses me from my thoughts. The lightning and sound of thunder is closer. I can smell the scent of rain carried in by the breeze. Rain is close.
The wind begins to blow hard across the woodlands I quickly go to work putting my fire out and securing anything that might blow away. J wind is blowing hard enough my tent looks like it is dancing.
I can feel the mist from the rain against my face. I crawl into my tent and settle in not knowing what to expect from the approaching storm. The first raindrop lands on my tent and is soon followed II many more. My tent is being pelted by the rain that is now a downpour but the wind has slowed. I can only hope that it stays dry inside the tent. I love to listen to the sound of the rain upon my tent. I don’t know how long I lay there listening to the rain before Mr Sandman came to visit.
It’s 2 am and I am alone on the river. There is no moon and the night sky is black as ink. I hear the crackle of the campfire and the sound of the river as it makes its way across the rocks in the shallow rapids before finding its way into deeper water. Bam! A beaver slaps its tail on the water warning others that there is an intruder in their domain.
Yip! Yip! Yip! I can hear the coyotes on the other side of the river making their way along the river bank. The lightning bugs illuminate the darkness with their blinking tails. As a child they reminded me of airplanes against the night sky with their blinking lights.
The bull frogs had been eerily quiet tonight but the deep bass croak of a bullfrog begins to resonate throughout the river valley followed by the scream of a screech owl.
With the soothing sound of Mother Nature’s symphony I begin to relax and I let my mind wander. I wonder if there was someone camped on this very spot 250 years ago. Perhaps a Native American or a settler. Were they fishing or just passing through? Were they in search of a place to settle or were they making their way to the mighty Mississippi? How much different it must have been. No litter or tires along it’s banks. How clear the water must have been. Were they as mesmerized by the beauty of the river as I am? Did they enjoy the peace and solitude? Were they alone too?
I am brought back to the present by a ruckus behind me. I turn around and in the darkness I could discern five figures in the darkness. It appears to be a mother raccoon and her offspring. She seems to be scolding one of the youngsters. Maybe it had ventured too close to me and she was worried about its safety. They soon moved on in search of food.
I readied my bedroll and crawled inside it as the desire for sleep won over the marvels of the nighttime. I lay looking into the night sky watching for a shooting star but there would be none tonight. The smells of the river were crisp tonight. The smell of the river and the campfire were the most prominent and complimented each other. I begin drifting off playing the days events back in my mind. At the same time I wondered what tomorrow would bring. Would I catch my personal best smallmouth or would it just be a day of photography? As sleep began to overtake me I was one with the river rooted in my safe place. A place of peace and tranquility. A place to recharge my soul and mind and cleanse my spirit. Life is good. I am on the river.
“Camping: The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” Anonymous
I awoke at 5:00 a.m.excited that I was finally afforded the opportunity to go camping for the first time this year. Finally a weekend without rain.
I was headed to my property in Frank Clay, MO. I arrived a little after 10 a.m. I began the task of setting up camp. I soon found out that the seed ticks survived the winter. It was far worse than in years past.
I decided to take a break and parked myself in a chair. The woods were quiet except for the sweet sound of song birds. A donkey began braying in the distance and some Bluejays began fussing at one another.
When camping, time seems to move at breakneck speed. I dug out the lantern and readied it to bring light to the darkness of the coming nightfall. I gathered wood and started a fire.
“The fire is the main comfort of camp, whether in summer or winter.” – Henry David Thoreau
I settled into my chair and turned my attention into enjoying the glow of the fire. I pulled out my journal and began recording the day’s events. A donkey began to bray just east of camp. It was such a sad sounding bray. A whip-poor-will began sharing its song. To the north of camp a pack of coyotes began yipping playfully and the woodland insects began their nightly symphony. As I sat watching the flames of the fire dancing around, my eyes signaled it was time to turn in for the night.
Morning came early for me. I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and even though still half asleep managed to find my way out of the tent. I was met by temperatures in the low 50s. I added some kindling to the fire to rekindle it’s flames. I grabbed the coffee pot, added water and Cameron’s Highland Grog coffee grounds. I placed the pot on the fire and sat back and waited for the finished product. Caffeine! I need caffeine.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced the taste of camp coffee and if you haven’t I am here to tell you the flavor is in a league of its own. My childhood friend David Tripp has always been fascinated with the flavor of my camp coffee to the point he has mastered the technique and become a master at brewing camp coffee.
Finally the coffee was done and I poured myself a cup and sat back in my chair watching the fingers of light from the rising sun overtake the night sky bringing dawn to the woodlands. I was awoken from my trance by the barking of a squirrel. I finally located him. It was a gray squirrel moving erratically on the limb of a white oak. He seemed upset to find this human invading its territory. After about 10 minutes he lost interest and moved on. Two geese flew just above the treetops honking noisily as they went. The songbirds began filling the air with their music. My stomach began to growl and I heated up the Dutch Oven so I could begin the preparation of breakfast.
I loaded the oven with bacon and the morning air was filled with the aroma of cooking bacon. I then fried some eggs over easy but because some dummy forgot the biscuits breakfast would only consist of bacon and eggs. Food always seems to taste better when cooked over a campfire.
After breakfast I sat back and reflected on the weekends events and finished my last cup of coffee. It was time to break camp, clean up and head back home.
As a side note I had a phone conversation with my childhood friend and fellow blogger David Tripp telling him about my camping trip. David is doing a story about Hank (me) and Randy (David) on his blog and is doing his own illustrations. I urge you to check his blog out and follow the adventures of Hank an Randy. https://davidtripp.wordpress.com/. and check out his website Recollections 54 The Art Of David Tripp http://www.davidtrippart.com.
“Surrender to the flow of the River of Life, yet do not float down the river like a leaf or log. While neither attempting to resist life nor to hurry it, become the rudder and use your energy to correct your course to avoid the whirlpools and undertow.” – Johnathan Lockwood Huie
I spend as much time as I can exploring the rivers of Missouri. I am mesmerized by their beauty and amazed by how much they are like life itself.
Like life a river is long and winding filled with adventure and obstacles. It ebbs and flows, builds and falls. Like life it can be rough and at other times be calm and peaceful. One minute you can be making your way through a calm pool of water and at the end of it you find yourself thrust into the rapids dodging rocks and trees trying to keep your boat upright.
The river can be calm and pristine flowing within its banks then the spring rains can transform it into a raging torrent of water causing it to surge out of its banks destroying everything in its path.
Life is full of mystery and the unknown and the river is full of the same. As you approach a bend in the river you know not of what lies ahead of you. Like in life you can only hope that you are prepared for anything that the river places before you. Will you fail or will you be victorious?