Wanderings

IMG_4255 The Black Hills, SD

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Today was one of those odd days where it seems like you are busy, but when you look back at the day you realize you haven’t really got much to show for it. I did get the dishes done. We did get to town and get some groceries. It just felt like we worked so much harder than that!

It has been rainy, gray and drippy here the last few days. Maybe that is why everything seems like it is harder and takes longer to do. It might just be a whole mental attitude thing.

I was at a loss as to what to post today so I went on over to the dailypost to check out the  prompts. It is always a helpful place to give you some ideas to get your brain working. The words for the last couple days were gray and roots. This did make me laugh out loud as my first thought was of my own hair!  Only…..mine is gray on a lot more of my head than just the roots.

After thinking on those words awhile I knew that in my digital files of photos I had some pretty cool pictures of tree roots. I am going to share a few of my favorites with you. They were taken on various vacations through the past years.

The tree pictured at the beginning of this post was photographed on a family vacation years ago to the Black Hills in South Dakota. (My husband’s favorite place!) The roots on that tree were so amazing to me. They just seemed to snake around the rocks and hang on. Eventually the tree died but those roots spoke of such determination to anchor themselves firmly into something solid.

It kind of reminded me of a song we used to sing in Sunday School about the wise man building his house upon the rock….when the rains and winds came…his house stood firm. I suspect that tree stood pretty firm through many storms.

IMG_6912 Lake Thompson, SD

This picture was taken at Lake Thompson, South Dakota. I just could not pass up taking a picture of this huge ball of roots. It made me wonder what it actually took to bring that tree down! Even in it’s present state there is such a rugged beauty to it.  The roots have been worn smooth by the rain and bleached by the sun. It may no longer function as a living tree but I have a feeling that it is probably used by many people as a place to sit and rest. It has been repurposed and made beautiful again by time.

This grouping of three pictures, are probably some of my all time favorites. They were taken at Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota. Just seeing these pictures gives me a wanderlust to go back and wade in the cool waters of the falls, marvel at the twisted trees that are still alive and feel the texture of the lichen covered rocks that line the stream.

It is the perfect place…..running water, sparkling waterfalls, gnarly trees, multi-colored rocks and pebbles, and there is always a refreshing breeze on a hot summer day. It is a joy to watch the little kids (and the old kids) splashing in the water and just enjoying being outdoors.

I am starting to think that if tomorrow is also a rainy day it might be time to get out the well-worn Rand McNally atlas and do some vacation dreaming! I have found that sometimes the dreaming is over half the fun.

Perhaps just planning a vacation and dreaming on one can be like taking a vacation and never leaving home. Perhaps the slow pace of our “gray, drippy” day was a mini-vacation of sorts. I may need to rethink vacations in general.

Vacation memories can be like those tree roots that are sunk deep into rock……those memories are firmly and solidly rooted in shared experiences with family and friends….shared joys, laughter and fun……..and that is a blessed, wonderous thing.

The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.
Cesare Pavese

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cesarepave400608.html

 

 

 

You Can Go Anywhere From Here……

The Road South

My thoughts seemed a little scattered today so I decided I should take a short walk, up the road, to the blacktop that runs past our farm. Once you reach the black top it rather feels like being  atop of the world…..at least for Iowa. You can see for miles in all directions except one.

As I stood there this morning, in the warm sunshine, I kind of felt like Tom Hanks at the end of the movie “Castaway”. You know ….. the scene at the end where he stands in the middle of the road and wonders which one to take.

I stood in the middle of the blacktop road…..I even stood on the yellow line. For those of you who worry about traffic flattening me out…..not to worry….this is a rural blacktop and you can see a vehicle come quite a ways off.  You can also hear them coming a ways off as this is fairly quiet country…..so it was quite safe.

 

As I stood there, soaking up the sun like a cat, that is sitting in an open barn door, I realized what a beautiful view I had in every direction.  I thought about all the places you could get to from this one starting point and decided you could pretty much go anywhere from here.

Even if you don’t physically go those places it is fun to dream about going to those places. No passport is needed to dream about going somewhere……a fortune is not necessary to just close your eyes and picture far off places…..all you need is a little imagination and a desire to roll with that thought.

For me those roads signify the places I have on my bucket list to go and see. They signify the people I love, who live at the end of those roads. Those roads speak of dreams.

Then, I turn to face the road that brings me back home…..

The Road Home

I realize that though my road home has a few muddy spots, is filled with small rocks…..it is still my path to the place I call home……and it brings a huge smile to my face. It is my safe haven, it is the home where my husband is, it is the place my kids come home to visit, it is the place my “girls” peck about the yard, it is the place where I can sit on my porch on a sunny Spring type day and I can dream of taking all those roads someday.

It is good to realize that home is a great place to be. It is good to be content with where you have been placed. It is also a good thing to be able to dream and dream about wandering to all the places you would someday like to see.

When I was a kid in grade school my report cards used to have comments that told my folks that I did to much daydreaming. I think I still do a lot of daydreaming and I don’t think it is a problem at all. In fact……I think it might be a gift.

May you have the time to travel new roads this weekend. May you have the time to daydream about those places that are on your bucket list. And may you find contentment in the place you that you call home.

 

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you
the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harriettub310306.html?src=t_dreams

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Journeys

the-path-gooseberry-falls-mn

Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN

There are days when blogging inspiration is hard to come by.  Today is one of those days. It seems small seeds of ideas pop into my brain and scatter before they have a chance to take root.

I am not sure why this is an issue today. Maybe it is because I was already a day late with my Monday post and my brain just can’t quite reset to the normal blogging schedule. It is hard to get my thoughts back on track.

Much of life can be like that.  You find a perfectly good path to take (at least you think it is a perfectly good path.) and before you know it…..your good path has taken twists and turns that you never expected.

What starts out as an easy hike quickly becomes a test of endurance and perseverance. I find when those paths starting getting a little iffy; it is good to remind myself to stop, breathe and take a look around.

It seems to me, that the hardest paths tend to have some of the most beautiful sites to see along the way. Maybe the flowers just appear to be more beautiful when the way is hard. Maybe it is compensation for life taking a difficult turn. Or maybe it is the promise that no matter how tough it gets there is hope to be found.

In the next few days our thoughts will turn to the past year and all the paths that we have had to travel…..the smooth ones and the rocky ones.Then we wonder what the year ahead will look like. One thing I know for sure – there will be some easy trails. There will also be those paths where the end cannot come soon enough.

Enjoy the easy days to the full….without worrying when the hard ones will show up. Take heart on the difficult days.  Stop and look around. Appreciate the small things…..the smile of a grocery store clerk, the way the sun shines and makes patterns on your living room floor, the smell of the woodstove as it warms your home, the hugs from a loved one…..

There is much beauty to be found if we only look. There is much goodness to be found if we give those around us a chance. There is much joy to be had if we just open our hearts and let it in.

May you be blessed…..wherever your path takes you. And may you be a blessing to those who travel with you.  “The joy is in the journey.” (Glen S.)

 

Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in Yahweh will be renewed.
They will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and won’t become weary.
They will walk and won’t grow tired.

Isaiah 40:31 NOG

 

Road Trips and Memories

The Boyden Pit.JPG

Yesterday was a wonderful, slow, autumn Sunday. As there was nothing urgent taking place in the afternoon we decided it would be a good time to take a little road trip. My husband had a couple ideas of places to go and we picked one that brought back a lot of memories.

The place we decided to head for was a spot that we used to visit a lot as teenagers……the Boyden Pit. Back when we were in high school it was the place to be on a hot summer afternoon. After hot sweaty mornings of walking beans it was a great place to go and cool off.

The beach was small and did not have the greatest sand, but it was always full of teenagers, moms with little kids and was loud with the sound of laughter, water splashing, and the tunes belting out of multiple battery operated radios. It was the perfect place to see others and to be seen.

All we needed for a great afternoon was a beach towel, a  radio, a few snacks, some pop, and as many friends as we could round up. We didn’t worry about sunscreen…..skin cancer was not on the radar that decade. In fact we would use baby oil to get the great dark tan that we all coveted.

There weren’t any life guards on this beach and we were all responsible for our own safety. We did make sure to swim in pairs if we were swimming out to “the island”. (I am not sure it was really an island but it was on the other side of the pit and seemed to take forever to get there.)

I don’t know the entire history of the Pit. I do know it was a former sand/gravel pit where some company or other dug out the sand and gravel to use in other places. Once they had gotten as much as they wanted the machinery was taken away and water filled the hole that was left. It became a natural place for people to go and cool off on steamy summer days and nights.

There was even a massive cottonwood tree with a rope attached for those who wanted to swing off the cliff, dangle precariously over the water and let go in a timely manner. If you did not let go soon enough you slammed back into the cliff and slid, in an inglorious fashion, down the face of the cliff and into the water.

the-cottonwood-tree

Later the tree met it’s end when it was sawed down because too many people had hurt themselves. (Our high school Bible teacher ended up having surgery after smashing his heel against that cliff wall.) All that remains of the tree is the weathered stump in the photo above.  It was a sad day for those who loved the thrill of flying over the water and plummeting to the water 20 feet below. I never had the urge to attempt that feat after having witnessed the slamming and sliding type of end to a swing on the rope.

It seemed that with the death of the big cottonwood; a lot of changes came to the Pit. Someone drowned and the Pit was closed for a number of years due to insurance issues. The beach that once was alive with shouts and laughter slowly grew over with weeds and small trees. The concrete bath house was torn down and only a non-functional light pole remains to mark it’s location.

Some years back the County took over the Pit area and began the task of turning it into a place where people would once again picnic, fish and camp.  It is not the same as it was back in the day I regularly visited it…. there are some things I like better and some memories that are hard to let go.

The beach area is no longer available for swimming as there is no swimming allowed.  People now come with their canoes, fishing poles, tents and campers. They come and once again this place is a place for people to spend time together.

The quiet that is this fall season, lays like a blanket over this area. The mowed path that now makes it’s way around the pit is an invitation to take a walk and listen to the leaves rustle in the wind. It is fun to observe the frogs sitting on the rotted logs at the water’s edge and to see the birds flit from tree to tree.

I have a feeling it is the same quiet that held this place way back before it’s years as a gravel pit. It is probably the same quiet that descended when the pit was closed to the public for those many years. It is a quiet that permeates this place and seeps into the soul when you stand quietly at the water’s edge.

The “new” pit is a beautiful, peaceful place. For those who did not come here in the 70’s and 80’s it is probably hard to imagine how noisy it once was. All I have to do is stand on the overgrown beach, close my eyes, and those days once again play out in my mind like scenes from an old movie.

I think I have enjoyed the best of both worlds that make up the life of this place.  I have lived the vibrant, noisy memories of my youth spent on this beach and I am also getting to soak in the quiet, soul-nourishing peace that it is now. It is indeed a blessing.

All changes, even the most longed for,
have their melancholy;
for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves;
we must die to one life before we can enter another.
~Anatole France

Trees I Have Known

Black Hills, SD

The Black Hills, SD

I noticed that today the Daily Post had the word trees for their word prompt. This was a word prompt I thought I could actually write about.  I am not sure what it is about trees that is so fascinating but I really like…..no, I love trees.

I have discovered that through the years I have taken a lot of pictures of trees. Pictures of trees that are healthy and growing, pictures of trees that are in full leaf, pictures of trees that are majestic in all their twisted glory, pictures of trees as they aged, and pictures of trees from many angles.

Kansas Tree.JPG

I am wondering if my love of trees started as a kid. I loved reading books and sitting up in the branches of a tree seemed the perfect place to read a book……actually anywhere is probably the perfect place to read a book, but I digress.

My folks had two beautiful sugar maples in their front yard that had branches that were great for climbing. My siblings and I spent a lot of time sitting among the leaves. It did not seem too many years later and our kids were climbing those same trees. I am wondering how long before my grandkids decide to climb the one sugar maple that still stands in  my parent’s front yard.

My sons like to remember the tree house they built as kids. They positioned it between the round metal corn crib and a huge old elm tree that grew behind the grove; that made up our back yard. They scrounged around for nails, boards and anything else they could find for construction purposes. It got to the point that my husband painted his own tools yellow and another set red. The boys were allowed to only have the red tools…..if they were caught with yellow ones there was some trouble. The red tools consisted of hammers with broken off handles that my husband had repaired. They were kid sized with about 5 inch handles.

By the time we ventured out back to go check on the progress of this tree house (on the advice of their grandparents) it consisted of multiple platforms. To reach these platforms they had nailed 1″ x 4″ boards with many…..many short shingle nails. At most there was probably 1/2″ of nail that was biting into the bark to hold the board on the tree.  I think their theory might have been; if they had to use short nails……just use more. Theirs was definitely a quantity over quality mentality.  When a board fell off it kind of resembled a porcupine with all those nails sticking out.

After seeing that their top platform had reached the top of the corncrib it was strongly suggested (ordered) that they remove the top platform. I can still remember them mumbling under their breath that they should not have shown the grandparents their tree house. Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of this wondrous tree house. I have a feeling that was in the time frame that we did not have a working camera.

Many of my favorite pictures of trees are ones I have taken while on vacation. The trees at Gooseberry Falls State Park in Minnesota are beautiful due to time and weather twisting them into works of natural art.

There is a beauty in the twisted trunks, the exposed, sun-bleached roots and the tenacity in which these trees cling to life. How they manage to survive growing on what looks like rock is beyond me. They have survived generations of tourists who come to marvel at the landscape and will probably stand for many more.

Trees are a testament to life and a witness to us that if we hang on tight, are firmly rooted and don’t mind being a little twisted we will get through this life. We maybe won’t be in the same shape as when we started….in fact I am very sure we will not stay the same. I am, however, convinced that if we hang on and persevere, we too, will be a testament and witness to those around us and to those who come after.

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tree/

The Happiness Tag

the-happiness-tag-cobweboriumemporium.gif

I have been chosen by the wonderful funny Mrs Cobbs to participate in the Happiness Tag. I have found out this means I need to share 5 things which make me happy. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to hold this down to only 5 things…..

While I am thinking of which 5 things I want to share with you; I invite you to go over to thecobwebemporium and have a great time meeting  my friend, Mrs. Cobbs. I guarantee you are in for a treat!

The last few days have been spent pondering what five things I would place on the list of things that make me happy.  Top on the list would have to be people. For me family is huge. I love nothing more than to have all my family in the same place at the same time. This can be any location……just so the bunch is together. There are also friends who are as close as family. These are the people who know me, know my flaws and still want to hang out with me anyway! You just gotta love those kind of people like they are family.

Another thing that makes me happy is sitting on our porch on a cool fall morning, drinking my cup of tea while my husband enjoys his morning cup of coffee. This morning as we sat there we could see our breath every time we took a swallow from our mugs. We also had the fun of watching a pair of deer playing in a large grassy area.  They reminded me of pups chasing each other in circles.

I am finding that gardening and preserving food also makes me happy. I am not sure if this is more of a contented feeling but it does translate into happiness when I see the shelves filling with produce. Seeing all those full jars makes all the hoeing weeds, swatting bugs and sore muscles worth while. There is just something so fulfilling about growing and preserving your own food and feeding your family with that same food.

Another satisfyingly happy thing is when Bible study season once again comes around. I get to hang out with women I don’t normally hang out with. We usually do a Beth Moore series each season. It is so rewarding to see someone else’s point of view and how they answered certain questions. I have learned so much from the different Beth Moore series and from the women who study with me.

I love when my husband decides we need to take a road trip. One of the funnest (is that actually a word?) road trips we have ever taken was only a day long. We went someplace in Minnesota to pick up a pair of tractor fenders that he had purchased on craigslist. We left early in the morning, packed our lemon sandwich crème cookies (these are a staple for traveling), and headed north. It was an incredibly hot day and the air conditioner did not work in our car. We made stops on the way home at little antique shops, Wal-Marts (to cool off), and anyplace else that looked interesting. We still laugh about how crazy hot it was but also how crazy fun it was.

So there we are: people, morning tea on the porch, gardening and preserving, Bible study and road trips are some items on my list. I could have included books (nothing like a good Ted Dekker or James Patterson book), crafting (of all kinds-stamping, knitting, crocheting etc.), a good movie, having a tea party with the grandkids, junking with my sister, going to the Lakes, aaaaahhhhhhh the list is really never ending!

I think what I am seeing as I write down my thoughts on what makes me happy is that relationships are what make me the happiest. They are such a blessing.

I now have to ask 5 other bloggers to let us know 5 things that make them happy. I do want them to know that if they are too busy or just would rather not take part that is no problem. There is no pressure because, Hey, I want it to make them happy to participate! I would love to nominate most of the blogs I read because they all make me happy but I am limited to 5.

The following are those I am nominating:

A Quiet and Peaceable Life – The pictures PeggyJoan puts on her blog make me very happy.

The Journey of a Million Miles – MariJo writes so honestly of her relationship with God and those around her.

The Vanilla Tulip – I love how Ashley gives young moms so many great words of advice. I am no longer a young mom (but I am a grandma) and I love how her family and her faith are what keep her centered.

Ruthie’s Crafting Corner – Ruthie has such a variety of things that she includes in her blog you are sure to find something to interest you!

Helberg Farm Stories – The Helberg sisters have a blog that talks about relationships and farming. For me this is a double win!

Just a reminder:  there is no pressure on those nominated to take part but should you choose to; this is what you are asked to do:  Tell your readers 5 things which make you happy.  This can be anything because everyone has a different list of things and that makes this really fun.  You are then asked to keep it going by picking 5 blogs to pass the Happiness Tag to.  You may go ahead and use the Happiness Tag graphic posted at the top as it was made by Mrs. Cobbs and she gave us the go-ahead to use it if we choose. She is good like that!!

Oh…..and one last thing…….have fun!!!!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln