Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘appreciation

Incidental Accents

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I suffer to imagine how plain my world might become if I lived alone. Once again, I am tending to the day-to-day alone while Cyndie is away from home. My meals have become embarrassingly simplified. I don’t change sheets, I wash the ones I just slept in and put them right back on the bed. I move from one chore to the next methodically, practically.

Too often, I take for granted the myriad enhancements Cyndie bestows upon our surroundings. Incidental accents that subtly enrich my environment, not only visually, but energetically, too.

As much as I like having alone time, the void created by Cyndie’s absence greatly impacts the cost/benefit ratio.

Where do the magical flower blossoms come from that are scattered along our pathways? I don’t have anything to do with them. That’s all Cyndie’s effort.

I usually walk past all the places she stashes them without noticing, but the other day, I spotted this one that looked like it was reflecting the expanse of starry space, light-years beyond our planet.

That priceless morsel wouldn’t be here if it were left up to me at this point in my life.

I might fail to pay worthy attention to the flowers, but I will never fail to appreciate that the compliment of Cyndie’s and my way of doing things is so much more than just the sum of two parts.

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Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2021 at 10:03 am

More Thanksgiving

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During the three-day-weekend following Thanksgiving, we enjoyed leftover turkey sandwiches and some spectacular creamy turkey with wild rice soup that Cyndie whipped up from the remains of our feast. Saturday night, we were both looking for a change. A scrumptious homemade pizza from scratch more than fit the bill.

By the middle of the afternoon yesterday, neither of us had an appetite, let alone a craving for what to do for our Sunday dinner. I suggested we wait until either of us got hunger pangs and then we could revisit our options. Before we reached that point, Cyndie happened to notice we still had all the side dishes left over from the holiday meal that we shouldn’t let go to waste.

That made the decision for us.

When all the goodness was heated up and heaped on plates, it became the only thing I could possibly have wanted. It was a Thanksgiving feast all over again.

I am even more thankful than ever for all the blessings we enjoy.

  • For the culinary skills Cyndie employs daily to feed me better than I will ever deserve.
  • For our home and a warm bed.
  • The companionship of all our animals.
  • Family and friends who love us and make us proud.
  • Entertainers who work every day to bring laughter into the world.
  • That most people understand the risks of the pandemic and take healthy precautions.
  • That the majority of people in the world are good and would help others in need.
  • I have a job that gives me access to health insurance.
  • That the NFL football team I stopped watching yesterday didn’t quit when I did.
  • Jigsaw puzzles, a fireplace, books to read, and my lifetime collection of music to listen to.
  • That I saved 100% by not buying anything from much-hyped sales “bargains” over the entire weekend.
  • A car that safely makes my long commute tolerable.
  • Monday mornings, that make a prior weekend seem that much more precious.

Okay, I admit it. I turned off the game when the punt was fumbled. I had a puzzle to finish. Imagine my surprise when the score was flashed on an update of games later in the afternoon.

If you are reading this from beyond the Minnesota region, just disregard that part. It’s not really important.

Honestly, yesterday was a pretty dreary day for me. I suspect a large part of it was the harsh reality that the long weekend was ending and a return to the workweek was getting closer by the minute. The stark contrast of weather from the sun and warmth of Saturday to cold, cloudy, and windy Sunday didn’t help, either.

Ending on a high note of feasting in continued thankfulness is a pretty good way to break that spell.

Here’s to not letting a single dreary day become anything more than a temporary affliction and making a point to pay frequent attention to things we can be thankful for each and every day.

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Written by johnwhays

November 30, 2020 at 7:00 am

Storm Departs

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Cyndie shared some scenes from the aftermath of a thunderstorm that bowled over us earlier in the week. There has been a steady stream of them lately, most being of the non-concerning variety, but not without some minor consequences.

There is another tree that has fallen across one of our trails. Honestly, before living here, I had no idea how often trees topple over in a forest. Sometimes, it’s even weather-related, but not always.

The backside of the storm was pretty obvious and the blue sky behind it served as a wonderful exclamation mark of bidding the blustery beast good riddance.

After the sun drooped below the horizon, it provided one last parting gift of illuminating a whisp of a heart-shape in one of the lower clouds.

I’ve heard of silver linings, but this cloud definitely had a pink one.

We’ve been spared the hail that some areas received the other night, and for once, the total precipitation amounts have bounced between a quarter and a half of an inch, instead of overflowing our rain gauge. A blessing that we do not take for granted one bit.

All the aspects of our paradise glow and flourish in the aftermath of each rumbly event of rocky weather. As I recline on our deck or inside the screen door soaking up the glorious calm, there is no place I would rather be.

It’s social distancing on the grandest of scales.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2020 at 6:00 am

Quiet Evening

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After dinner last night, I stepped out to spend some time on one of the zero-gravity chairs Cyndie left on the deck. She pulled them out on Sunday to watch the Perseid meteor shower in the wee hours of Monday morning. I opted to sleep and missed that show.

Last night, the air outside was absolutely still. The sky was muted by a white-washed backdrop that held just a few discernible cloud shapes floating in front of it.

The temperature and humidity had eased to a perfectly comfortable warmth for the end of a hot August day. As I lay back in total relaxation, I tried to absorb the moment to the depth of my bones, for use as a reference in six months, when everything outdoors will be completely opposite.

It was so quiet, I could hear the acorns getting dropped to the ground when a bird hopped in the branches of a tall oak tree. The culprit was also adding to the soundscape with an occasional simple one-note, even-pitched tone. That was in stark contrast to the songbird who arrived in a tree behind me to show off a dramatic and richly complex repeating series of staccato chirps, tweets, and climbing trills.

I spotted a dragonfly high above me, near the top of the trees, and followed its aeronautical acrobatics of instant right-angle and logic defying immediate one-hundred-eighty degree turns in what I assumed must have been a feeding frenzy. It kept at it for a surprisingly long time.

The bliss of the moment served as a good remedy for my lake hangover. There might not be a gorgeous lake rippling in our back yard, but we do have plenty of nature in which to submerse ourselves, as an alternative.

Later, back in the house, I caught a glimpse of the doe and two fawns who hang out here regularly enough that we consider them family. They were loitering near the truck before disappearing down the trail toward the chicken coop.

I suggested to Cyndie that she should be extra quiet when she headed down to close the chicken door for the night, and maybe she would be able to mingle with the deer.

Delilah didn’t really know what I was watching out the back window, but she instantly spotted the flash of brown bodies and white tails when they darted out of the trees and crossed the yard to where the trail enters the woods on the other side.

Cyndie didn’t get to do any mingling.

She did find all ten chickens safely roosting in the coop for another day. I took the deer sighting as a sign there wasn’t any immediate threat in the area, implying our animals all enjoyed a quiet evening, too.

Egg production continues to pick up. Yesterday was the first time there were three eggs in a single day. I take that as another sign they are happy and healthy.

It all has me wanting to achieve an unprecedented level of full appreciation for the blessings we are currently enjoying, especially the simple ones like yesterday’s calm and quiet night.

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Written by johnwhays

August 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Octember Feeling

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Our weather this weekend is feeling more like September than October, with temperatures warming near 70° (F) for the highs. The morning-scape today was beautiful, as the sun just started igniting the colors in the distance.

dscn5285eDelilah and I trekked the full circumference of our property before stopping to serve up morning feed for the horses. The air was alive with the traffic of bird sounds and the occasional distant dog.

Our sweet puppy was in a more subdued mood and refrained from answering any of the calls, which I greatly appreciated.

It was a precious autumn morning of the kind that soothes whatever ails you.

The kind you wish would never end…

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I am pretty sure chances for more of these kinds of mornings are waning, regardless the ongoing warming-ization of our planet. As early as tonight, the forecast includes the words “showers” and “thunderstorms,” and then by the end of the week, the predicted high temperatures drop significantly.

Of course, the impending transition to cold weather is what makes mornings like today’s so incredibly precious.

And it is why we soak them up with such thorough all-encompassing exuberance.

We know Octember is not going to linger much longer.

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Written by johnwhays

October 16, 2016 at 9:32 am

Everyday Adventures

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Yesterday afternoon, I was walking from the shop toward the barn on one of my favorite paths when I felt a wave of heightened appreciation for the daily adventures we enjoy as a result of Cyndie’s and my decision to move to the country and become horse owners.

IMG_iP1438eAfter feeding the horses and cleaning up under the overhang, I lingered among them for an extended visit. They each took turns approaching me for some physical contact. Dezirea was the most persistent about moving in so close that I had to watch my feet to keep my toes out from under her front hooves.

They all wanted scratches, each in their own special spots. They spend a lot of time all day long trying to fend off bugs and I imagine the lack of having a hand to swat and scratch must make it a real chore. They swing their heads, stomp their feet, and snap their tails, but none of that is the same as a good scratching with a hand that can reach all the difficult spots.

Hunter tends to favor his chest and neck, Dezirea definitely prefers the middle of her back, Legacy has lately accepted head scratches, and Cayenne will take anything we offer.

It is a thrill and a privilege to have the adventures of horse ownership available to us every day.

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Written by johnwhays

July 14, 2016 at 6:00 am

Work Resumes

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It was back to work for all of us yesterday, after our glorious weekend away. I returned to the day-job and Cyndie picked up where she left off with Hunter. My Monday in the mine was already complete and I had just arrived home when Rachael and Cyndie were heading down to put Hunter through some exercises.

DSCN3885eI was able to observe some of the process from where I was picking up the days-worth of manure that had accumulated under the overhang. It was fascinating.

Turns out that Hunter is a bit of a perfectionist. He is also very sensitive. Rachael could see that he really wants to do things right the first time. She was directing him with only the slightest of movements. If she simply shifted her weight, as if to take a step, Hunter responded.

After Rachael’s demonstration, Cyndie took a turn at giving him directions with the lunge line. I could see that it is very much a joint exercise for the two of them. Cyndie’s lessons will be toward gaining clarity of message with her movements and Hunter will hopefully learn to respond appropriately.

DSCN3892eWe think he has potential to become a star in our herd of facilitators when it comes to communication.

September has arrived, which is the month when the horses were delivered to us, two years ago. I think they have adjusted well to the changes that have been presented to them in that time.

I expect it is fair to say that we have adjusted pretty well ourselves over that same period. In October, we will mark our third year of living on these 20 acres of fields and forested hills in western Wisconsin.

It feels like we are starting to get the hang of it.

Last Thursday, while mowing as fast as I could around the perimeter of the back pasture, I felt a sense of appreciation for the design and installation of all our fencing. During a pause to put gas in the lawn tractor, I made a point to call Tom and Sue Sherry of Best Built Fence.

I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out (for once) at a time when there was nothing I needed from them. I just wanted to say thank you and tell them what a great job they did for us. They showed up when we were as green as could be and helped guide us to a plan that was what we wanted but beyond our ability to envision.

I always felt Tom knew better than us what it was we were trying to accomplish. It was refreshing to be able to tell them so, when they least expected to hear it.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2015 at 6:00 am