Friday, November 27, 2009

One Little Girl's Thankful List

One of the little girls I teach is a nine year old profoundly deaf child, for whom language and speech are difficult. I gave her the sentence, "I am thankful for . . . . . ", hoping for 2 or 3 responses to complete it. Instead, this is the list she gave me:
  • everybody
  • life
  • home
  • school
  • family
  • all my friends (followed by a smiley face)
  • foods
  • bed
  • teachers
  • my backyard
  • my peach tree
  • computers
  • tickles
  • seasons
  • books
  • my birthday
  • the day
  • clothes
  • TV
  • video games
  • a rainbow
  • colors
  • chairs
  • tables
  • singing (remember, she is deaf but has a cochlear implant)
  • balloons
  • my bike
  • camping (she has never been camping, yet)

Now that the rush of preparation for Thanksgiving is over, I thought it might be good, to ponder and consider for what I am thankful. I am thankful for this student. Her simplicity; her dreams and experiences listed above seem so refreshingly profound to me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Metaphor of the Moose

While riding with Dreampacker last Saturday morning, we chanced upon three moose. The first of which was this young bull. He was having a hard time. He'd recently been kicked out of his mother's care and the big guys were beginning to push him around with "the season" beginning. Then we showed up, and he was unsure. With all the bear attack stories this year in Utah, I'd still rather face a bear on the trail than a moose. Even a young one like this can be much more dangerous.

This life is hard wired for adversity. It happens. A lot. We could have looked at this guy (as big as my horse already) and considered him to be an adversary, a moment of adversity. A problem. Trouble. Had we done so, he would have obliged and become something more to be reckoned with. By choosing to look at him as an adventure to be desired, our horses calmed, he calmed, and we had the joy of a minute of his association before he moved off the trail.

Adversity is like that, too. If we stay calm and seek the adventure in it, it becomes a learning experience to be cherished, at least in hind sight some day.

Then adversity, like this moose, when it has taught us what we desired at the time we wrote it into our life's script, will take one last look over its shoulder and disappear into the trees. Perhaps even passing us by altogether . . .

. . . so we can turn our attention again to the beauty of life around us and . . .

. . . to the peaceful joy of the sunrise, of both the one at hand and of the One to come.

Such are the ponderings of this grandpa when he chances upon a moose.
(Well, if I'm dressed. But that, as you know, is another story.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Almost Missed

Dreampacker and I almost missed this little beaver pond and spring on our ride the other evening, yet it is big enough to go skinny dipping. As the story below asks, what else might we be missing when we "ride" too fast?

Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.4 minutes later:the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.6 minutes:A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.10 minutes:A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.45 minutes:The musician played. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.He collected $32.1 hour:He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ....
How many other things are we missing?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Morning Unfolding

The sun has risen above Mt. Ben Lomond as seen from the valley, but here at Mountain Road Ranch all is still in the shadows of a clinging night.

There is a mist of early morning rain on the roses . . .

. . . and the early bees are "busy gathering like never before...yep! . . . it's going to be a long hard winter", . . . oh, but, that's another story.

And like families, there are some dragging out late and asking," Is it morning yet?"

Some blossoms are so determined, they seem to glow . . .

. . . without any direct sunlight.

But when the sun slips across the Pass, bathing the garden in a moment of slanted light . . .

contrasting lights and shadows bring new depths . . .

. . . and even an old Zinnia, pregnant with seed, promises one more day of color.

So too, the corn makes one more try to ensure every silken thread is pollinated . . .

. . . and it goes not unnoticed by the gathering bees.

When the sun moves behind Lewis Peak,
throughout the garden faint light still shows contrasts . . .

. . . of color and shape . . .

. . . and contour.

And still some glow . . .

. . . and seem to burn with an internal fire not yet from the sun.

Others, bowed patiently through the night, begin to open, lift and face the sun.
So may we all.

Of course there is a post script:
Can anyone identify this unique blossom?
Hint: it is in the garden.

Royal Feast

There are many metaphors drawn comparing gardening, planting, and harvesting with spiritual terms of planting seeds, wheat and tares, harvests to come, faith, works, and much more. Suffice it to say, " I did prune, and dung 'round about it." And now the harvest is in full swing. Apricots are done. Our corn is gone now; the sweetest you'll ever taste. Peaches are in in mid season, with two more later varieties to come. People drive from clear out state to get our apricots and peaches. My best peaches are the size of softballs and much easier on the palette. Grapes are about a week away. Please come and get some, for our larder is full of last year's juice. Some say pride is of Lucifer. Maybe. But I am proud of the harvest the Lord and I put together. It lacks only those to enjoy it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Adventures?

I started school today with two new assignments added to my full case load of deaf kids, grades 4 - 11 this year. One is to train a new teacher of the deaf hired a week ago. The other is to coach 15 seasoned teachers of the deaf. I meet with my director tomorrow to find out how this all will fit into one day or week. The day is not long enough. Is there no rest for the wicked?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hiking and Camping with Dreampacker

Those of you who have had the pleasure of camping with Dreampacker know that you have to rise early to keep up with her, especially if she has a camera (she took about 500 photos on this trip). Even the northern latitude sun above had to hustle. She was very willing to attend the Stampede Rodeo in Calgary with me . . .

but her real love is the out of doors. Especially if it has dramatic clouds.
She can sit and peacefully enjoy the scenery and the day, but soon details catch her eye . . .
and she wades into the glacial river to check out the multi-colored stones more closely.
Suddenly one "speaks" to her. You all have seen this happen before . . .
and she'll save the special one (or two, or three) and wash it clean to go home with her.
But she loves animate nature, too. I think she regretted not being at this stump when a bear tore it apart looking for grubs. But smaller animals . . .
would fearlessly check out her toes and fingers, or . . .
be like this little gray bird escorting her up the slot canyon. It would hop from rock to rock as though showing her the best way to go upstream. It disappeared when other hikers came by. But after they left, it came right back to her.
Large animals were also unconcerned in her presence (this is without a telephoto lens) and continued their grazing or . . .
resting in full view of her camera. From large to small, from dramatic to sweet, she loves it all. Most of her photos probably were of wild flowers. Check out her blog to see some. However . . .
when the mood hits, she loves to explore new sights such as this trail to a water fall. She is on the catwalk in the top left corner. Naturally, being a Utah desert hiking veteran . . .
she recognizes a cairn when she sees one, like this one marking the pictographs on the wall behind her.
It is always an adventure to be with Dreampacker in the wilderness. It is so refreshing to see things through her eyes, and to feel the special love she brings to both God's creations and His creatures.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Law of Threes Disproven

#4. Could hear water running in the pipes yesterday morning; thought a toilet needed "looking into" because all the hoses were indeed off. Or the water heater was going out, or the softener, maybe. Put off further checking. Last night could hear it still and checked further. Found the pressure reduction valve leaking and spraying water all over the crawl space. Learned two things: plumbing repairs are more expensive at night, and it pays to thoroughly check immediately when you hear water running and it shouldn't be.

#5. Came home from shopping and lunch with Dreampacker yesterday, and found the horses had opened the pasture gate and turned our yard into a race track. The lawn and garden are heavily churned up from the orchard to the vineyard with holes and skid marks. At least they didn't do damage to the neighbors' yards or get out onto the street, or up on the mountain.

(Or is this the beginning of a second set of three?)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Profound Question

While cleaning clogged rain gutters in the storm this morning, I wondered why is it we (I) tend to postpone necessary tasks when they are convenient, till the time they are necessary? You know, like paying taxes on the 15th?

The Law of Threes

First, Judy sat at a stop sign and observed an oncoming car run thru it, only to be T-boned by the vehicle with the right of way. The spinning cars rear-ended Judy's Pilot. She wasn't hurt, gratefully.

Second, I lost a $2000 hearing aid in the tall grasses along the road side. Too embarrassing to explain how. Judy found it under knee high grasses 45 minutes later.

Third, a nearly empty salt shaker slipped out of the fingers, landed on the glass stove top, and shattered it. Repairs pending. Microwave works, though.

Hope the Law of Three's holds; this is enough for awhile.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Muleteer Bob

Academy of Honorable GRAND CANYON MULETEERS, North Rim Trails and Extremities
Henceforth, Cowboy Bob, from this day forth shall be known as a MULETEER BOB, owing to valor, Prowess, Skill and team work with the trusty mount, "Fred". Together, this day of May 23, 2009, they descended the mighty maw, soaring walls and narrow trail, all while displaying unwavering bravery, benevolence and valor. Be it never forgotten on this day, that mule and man descended and ascended in the Grand Canyon, North Rim and thus shall be entitled to accolades, hosannas and bragging rights heretofore forever conferred.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This time it's Vultures

Last year it was 5 owls. This year, I thought 7 golden eagles were hanging out in the tall trees for a little while. However, after looking in the Field guide, Dreampacker thinks they look like Turkey Vultures. Hmmmm. Any guesses?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Gone International

Looking for a shirt to wear, I began noticing labels in my closet. There are labels from:





Viet Nam




Sri Lanka


Mexico (Wrangler Jeans)


Hong Kong




I thought this an interesting and graphic comment on how times have changed.