Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for the ‘Chronicle’ Category

Brothers Reenact

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Continuing my tour through past posts, I found this old favorite. I love my family.

 

From April, 2011:

Now Then

I have already shared this with all of my siblings, and also with my Brainstorms community, so it almost seems redundant to post it here. However, I think it has a universal appeal for the novelty of capturing the similar poses and for the always interesting visual of comparative shots of people when they are young and when they aren’t as young.

I have been wanting to do this for a long time, but younger brother, David, lives up north and older brother, Elliott, wasn’t able to be at our family reunion gathering last summer, so getting the three of us together has been rare.

My family tolerated my attempts to try (probably too hard) to direct the shot to be exact. I thought Elliott should take off his glasses. He disagreed. I respect his opinion that they belong.

In the end, Elliott got in the ‘last word’ about my drive to accomplish a pose exactly the same as the first picture. I only had one image available on my camera when I got home, so after I pasted them together, I sent it out to the family asking if anyone had a better version. I noted that in this image, I didn’t have my shoulders squared to the camera, and with multiple photographers taking pictures, Elliott was looking at a different camera than this one.

Elliott sent this, in reply:

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Written by johnwhays

March 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

Choose Twice

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In celebrating the accomplishment of my 10-years of posting daily, I am somewhat randomly exploring the “Previous Somethings” archive in search of anything that might catch my fancy. One of the first challenges I have discovered is dealing with a bit of embarrassment over plenty of what I am finding. Who wrote this stuff!?

Oh. I did.

Skip that one. And that one, too.

One of the features of “Relative Something” that evolved pretty early on was resorting to two-word post titles. On one hand, it took a lot of thinking out of the process of deciding what to title my posts. When writing every single day, trying to come up with a worthy title over and over again can become an inordinate burden. Limiting it to just two words simplified the task nicely.

However, when I started down the path of this feature, I didn’t realize how soon I would reach a point where I was coming up with titles that I’d already used. Most of the time, I make changes until I come up with something fresh, but as I’ve approached this tenth anniversary, I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter so much.

You may have noticed that I differentiate my poetry posts by using a single word title. It’s a lot harder avoiding repetition when reduced to one word.

Here are two poems that I posted under the identical title, “Choose.”

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From August, 2013:

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freedom
to choose health
in the face of other options
takes effort
that is rewarded
incrementally
sometimes infinitesimally
over time
do the math
not the science
that it takes
making rockets fly
simple addition
day after day
for months at a time
healthy emerges
for goodness sakes
like green on the grass
running in a river
rounding the rocks
headed toward forever
where life is esteemed
and success of good health
the spectacular garnish
that feeds on itself
in magical ways
running and jumping
with joyous persuasion
returning investments
of health options chosen
turn off that tv
go do something else
break down that routine
be someone else
that unlikely person
you never felt could
emerge from your shell
stuck there for good
just a choice
to be made
inside the mind
there’s reward to be nabbed
free for the choosing
life filled with promise
of better than good
outside the lines
of everyday drab
just beyond reach
of those who don’t try
it’s easy to grasp
for the bold few who do
exercise free choice
to choose better health
not just for a day
but from now on
days-months-years at a time

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.From October, 2017:

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

March 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

Another Thought

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Well, tomorrow brings another thought. And, yesterday’s tomorrow, is today’s today. I have another thought this morning about how I might respond to the milestone of completing ten years of daily blogging. What if I did it for ten more? That’s another way to look at this interesting opportunity.

It has definitely become a comfortable habit that continues to offer me multiple benefits, and occasionally, surprising rewards. Also, by writing about my life every day, I avoid accumulating a build up of some wild idea about someday writing an autobiography.

I should try an experiment where I choose a memory from my past which I have already chronicled here years ago, and write a fresh version to compare how different they might come out. Last night, Cyndie and I met our friends, Barb and Mike for a fine dinner out in Red Wing, MN. One of our conversations touched on the fact that memories get reshaped a little each time we recollect them.

One way I have been contemplating a recognition of ten years of Relative Something is to mine the archives for a variety of gems from years ago and repost them anew. I’ve also begun seeking possibilities for resurrecting a couple of my old “games.” One involved guessing images from an extreme closeup, and another required readers to conjure their own picture in their minds from a description I write. A day later, I provide the picture I was describing for comparison.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of new stories worth telling happening every day around here. The flooding wasn’t catastrophic for us, but it still caused me more anguish than I care to experience. I think part of that came from the fact that Cyndie was dealing with it alone, while I was so far away at work during the days.

The days of rain have passed and the return of below freezing nights has eased the worst of flowing water for now, but there is still a ton of snow yet to melt, so who knows how long this will last.

The horses were absolutely heroic in allowing Cyndie to guide them out of the barn through the standing water without panicking over the scary reflections and sounds, of which they have had little exposure in their time with us. They’ve dealt with a lot of mud over the years, but rarely, if ever, been asked to traverse water over their ankles.

Oh, the horses.

Man, we are going to miss the horses.

There will be much to write about with the pending re-homing of our herd, but it’s hard for us to even think about, let alone put into words. Maybe that contributes to my pondering the idea of ceasing to write.

If you know me, that is a pretty unlikely result. Writing is how I best process my thoughts.

Here’s to the possibility of ten more years of somethings you might find relative.

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Written by johnwhays

March 16, 2019 at 10:11 am

Who’s Counting

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Who’s counting? Apparently, I am. Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Relative Something. My first post here was March 15, 2009, after my son, Julian, recommended that I create a blog to chronicle my planned trek in the Himalayan mountains to best share my stories of the great adventure for friends and family to follow.

I’ve posted almost every day since.

Now, on this anniversary, I’m faced with a computer problem that has me stuck poking letters on my phone to compose these thoughts. It’s humbling, to say the least.

The barn has flooded and I am brooding after trying futilely to influence the water to drain around instead of through.

There is a new lake where our back pasture used to be.

The troublesome weather has sapped my energy.

We are back to dealing with icy conditions, as the temperature has dropped below freezing once more.

I had visions of composing some deep review of what ten years of writing daily has been like for me.

Instead, I’m now wondering if this ten-year milestone might be a time for closure on this chapter of my daily memoir project.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Please stand by.

Written by johnwhays

March 15, 2019 at 6:00 am

Big Changes

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Last Sunday, Wintervale declared a “Snow Emergency,” restricting any parking on either side of our driveway until June, but it looks like that will be rescinded very soon. The weather has changed in a big way, from cold and snow, to chilly rain.

The liquid precipitation yesterday made short work of the snow that had collected on tree branches, instantly changing the landscape views. The woods now have an incongruous appearance with so much snow still on the ground, but the trees all wet and dark.

At this point, the deep snowpack is absorbing the bulk of the water that is falling from the sky, but the situation should get interesting after a couple days of increasingly intense rain.

After the saturation point is reached, the water will start the great migration that ultimately takes it to the Gulf of Mexico. Can you say, “flooding?”

The glacier on the front side of the barn already has a lake forming on top, and the piles of snow on either side look like they aren’t going to offer an outlet any time soon. I may resort to a little creative drainage engineering to avoid the water choosing its own alternative route through the inside of the barn.

Up by the house, on the hill where I boasted about not worrying about flood concerns, I noticed the water running down the gutters wasn’t flowing out the end of the ice-packed downspout.

As a result, it isn’t directed away from the house, finding its way, instead, right where we don’t want it, along the foundation.

That situation shouldn’t last long, but in the land of freeze and thaw, I never like seeing any water pooling where it isn’t welcome.

Funny, how the landscaping which used to slope away from the house in November, takes on a variety of gradients after months of settling, being heaved by frost, and burrowed in by rodent pests. The results are rarely favorable.

Meanwhile, it is refreshing to have this glimpse of the next season making its rapid appearance. It’s WAY too early to expect such luck, but I would be thrilled if don’t have to plow again until next year.

On that note, I should probably make sure the lawn mower blades are sharp and ready to go.

Big changes are underway!

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Written by johnwhays

March 13, 2019 at 6:00 am

Not Surprising

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I received another weather warning on my phone last night. This time, it wasn’t about another round of plowable snow, but it comes as no surprise that they’ve issued a flood watch for our county. So, it’s out of the frying pan snow machine and into the fire hip waders for us this week.

Oh, joy.

We’ve got so much snow that our 3-board fence looks short enough in some spots that the horses could high-step their way over it. I think the only thing dissuading them from trying is the deepness of the snow on the other side.

We are due to get significant rain tomorrow and Thursday, without anywhere for it to soak in. There are bound to be a number of new rivers and lakes formed in the days ahead.

We’ll probably have the horses in the barn while it is raining, and the chickens will be given the option of venturing out at their own peril, but I’m not confident either of their structures will stay dry.

At least the coop is on stilts. The wood is shrunk from the dry winter air, so there are some gaps in places, I suspect, but it swells up nicely when it gets wet, so that just leaves drips from a few leaky screws in the roof panels.

The barn, on the other hand, is already suffering from areas that were once standing water that subsequently froze and rendered the two big sliding doors inoperable. More water on top of the old ice will not only make that situation worse, it will inevitably start flowing toward the lower ground available inside.

Thank goodness our house is at the top of a hill.

It is not surprising that they chose this spot on which to build.

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

More Snow

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Believe it or not, we spent most of the day yesterday clearing snow!

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Remember the Martin house? Before and after…

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Cyndie likes to shovel a path to the chicken coop so the hens have an easy path to get to their favorite spot under the overhang with the horses. They are spoiled living such a cushy life here with us.

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The day started with snow showers, but around noon the clouds moved out and provided an afternoon of melting under bright sunlight. The snow on the hay shed was losing the battle to gravity, in very slow motion. The snow on the chicken coop was losing the battle with the high March sunshine.

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Here is a before and after view of the labyrinth. We’re going to need to strap on the snowshoes and retrace our steps again.

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Written by johnwhays

March 11, 2019 at 6:00 am