Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘change

Changing, Again

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At the rate the transition from winter to spring has been playing out this year, this Words on Images post from April of 2013 resonates enough that I’ve decided to give it a fresh viewing. The prolonged cold and snow is getting mind numbing, but the change will eventually swing through to fruition. At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

April 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

Snow Going

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We dodged a spring snow storm overnight. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Obviously, we didn’t do any dodging. We stayed right where we are and didn’t flinch, while the white stuff slid past a little bit to the south of our region. Too bad for those folks.

I guess we all get a turn at weather adventure.

This leaves us with the adventures of watching snow melt. I am fascinated by the way anything of color absorbs the solar energy and melts a perfect pattern into the otherwise reflective snow.

Meanwhile, that reflective snow mass is radiating an amazing chill that offsets some of the best efforts of warm air to tip the balance. Taking a walk across the crusty surface in our open fields feels like a trip down the frozen foods aisle in the grocery store. The sun is shining warmth, but, brrrr, there’s a cold draft wafting up from everywhere!

We can now see where my winter plowing has torn great gouges of turf from the edges of the driveway and sprayed rocks in a wide array across the grass. New cracks in the old asphalt of our neglected driveway look another significant degree decayed.

I’m amazed anything survives unscathed. The concrete apron in front of the house garage looks to have moved its slope another degree in the wrong direction, inviting the snowmelt and rain runoff to drain toward the foundation instead of away.

And in terms of heaving earth, the waterer for the horses in the paddock has shifted dramatically off-kilter so that one side overflows and the high side holds inches less water.

Where is all the hope and renewal of spring?

It’s waiting. Biding its time beneath the surface. We must be patient. It will come.

The trillium we have transplanted will bloom again. Volunteer maple trees will sprout in mind-boggling numbers everywhere we turn.

The snow is going.

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Written by johnwhays

March 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

Different Behavior

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Yesterday was the second time in two weeks that I noticed something uncharacteristic about Legacy’s behavior. I’m not a guy with any history of horse experience, but after living with our herd for the last 4 years, I am able to perceive when their behavior changes.

Not knowing enough to make an educated guess, all I have to rely on is my intuition.

Last week, I came upon the three chestnuts grazing and lounging out in the hay-field, without their herd leader. Where was he?

Standing up under the barn overhang.

It was odd. I got the impression that he just didn’t want to walk all that way. Or, he’d rather stay out of the sun. I got the sense maybe he was feeling old.

It might be a reflection of my own issues, I’ll admit, but he is getting on in years. Not crazy old, but old enough that his arthritis might be sapping his interest in staying connected with the rest of the herd non-stop when they choose to venture so far away.

Yesterday, the oddity was more profound.

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I came out with a wheelbarrow full of hay to fill the box where Legacy always stands. I usually have to shoosh him away while I work, and he always starts eating before I can finish latching the chain over the grate. This time, I was surprised to find him down by the waterer, just standing, as if lost in thought.

My presence, with a fresh load of hay, didn’t engage his attention whatsoever.

Desirea almost didn’t know what to do with first access. She usually has to wait until he lets her in.

Legacy’s aloof behavior was so uncharacteristic, it startled me into taking pictures of the occasion.

I’m hoping Cyndie will be able to spend some quality time with the herd this week to see what she senses. Maybe she will be able to learn what is on Legacy’s mind.

It would be great if he would just tell her.

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Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2017 at 7:00 am

Subtle Change

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For most of my adult life I have maintained a pattern of growing my hair long for a several years and then in an abrupt change, having Cyndie crop it close to my scalp. One haircut every five to seven years suits me just right.

The years that I kept my hair in dreadlocks were a temporary deviation from the norm which I particularly enjoyed. Those came off at the beginning of 2011 (see it here) and I haven’t had an extreme cut since then. In the last year, I have had a few days when I wanted to take it all off again, but something kept me from following through.

Earlier this week I was searching images for current hairstyles and found the ones that appealed the most to me were all long. Of course, the primary trend for 2017 was long on the top and cropped on the sides, but I can’t quite pull that off because my top is disappearing with age.

The difference in color between my long ends, which are rich with a reddish-brown hue, and the new growth that is increasingly gray-tinged is dramatic.

I searched images to find haircuts for graying and thinning hair with a receding hairline, but the results were a bust.

After a consultation with my barber, Cyndie, we decided to keep it long, but give me a healthy trim. Usually she takes off the frayed ends a few times a year, but this time we opted for several inches at once. She also trimmed around the temples and along the neckline, which almost always gets neglected in my usual unrefined version of styling.

I figure it’s a pretty low-risk experiment. If I find myself still thinking I’m ready to be done with the length, I know I will enjoy the feeling of rubbing the stubble again after I convince Cyndie to go to that extreme.

I think both of us know that the next time she cuts it all off, each passing year there’s a chance it will never make it back to long again. For now, we’ll enjoy it while I’ve got it.

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Written by johnwhays

November 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

Drifting – Again

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Revisiting a “Words on Images” from 2013 that fits for me lately, as change around home has been not so apparent, day-to-day. That, and the fact I haven’t been taking many new pictures that inspire words.

Just drifting away on the light… and breathing; less verbal than my usual old self.

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Rusty Hue

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The changing season has taken a very noticeable shift in a short span of days, from brilliant to subdued, in terms of color palette. Last week, the color was electric, but yesterday the landscape looked like someone had unplugged the power and all the trees have begun to rust.

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Those pictures were taken just four days apart. Our forest is quickly becoming transparent, as you can see.

It kinda gives the impression that winter is on the way, which is mind-bending because yesterday the temperature was so summer-like. How it looked, and how it felt were not quite in alignment.

Naturally, I base my perception of what kind of weather to expect, on what I’ve experienced in the past, but the planet hasn’t been itself lately. With all that humans have done to muck up the natural order, we’ve made the art of prediction less predictable.

It has me trying to reclaim the naiveté of my youth, when I didn’t have a clue about weather and seasons. Each day was just something to be explored. I’m sure it was magical. I don’t actually recall. Though, of course, I didn’t need to plan and prepare for what would come next.

This has me longing for the benefits of childhood freedom from needing to be concerned about preparing property for the freeze and clearing snow, having enough fuel, getting vehicles winterized.

Oh, to just wake up one morning and exclaim, “Snow!” with pure joy about going outside to play in it.

That is, if it still gets cold enough for snow in coming days.

It’s getting hard to predict.

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Written by johnwhays

October 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

Five Years

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Happy Anniversary, Wintervale!

This week, five years ago, is when we made the big leap from the suburbs in Minnesota to the rolling countryside of west-central Wisconsin. We only moved about an hour east, but in many ways, we are a world away from our previous life.

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There is so much that I didn’t have a clue about in October of 2012 when we committed to this new adventure. Actually, that is one thing I was very certain about, …that I didn’t have any idea what would happen next.

In the five years since, we accomplished a remarkable number of things, most of them made up as we went along. There was no grand five-year plan, just a vague idea of what we thought we could do. It has really been more of a case of multiple one-year plans, each one blossoming into the next.

Honestly, we’ve had a remarkable number of successes that have fueled inspirations to take on whatever next possibility showed up in the light of each additional day.

The idea that we could even end up here in the first place was born even further back than five years ago, in September of 2010 when we traveled to Portugal to meet Ian Rowcliffe. Ian’s insights, wisdom, and initiative to nurture his Forest Garden Estate planted a seed in us that has blossomed into what Wintervale Ranch is today.

We also give a lot of credit to Tom and Sue Sherry, who helped design our layout and fencing, doing the work under their company, Best Built Fence, but becoming friends, as well. They deftly interpreted our dreams to devise a real world layout that suited us perfectly.

Honorable mention goes to nature, itself. The four seasons, the extremes of weather, and the march of time have done the most to shape this land since we arrived. From the onslaught of 18 inches of heavy, wet spring snow in the first days of May, 2013, to the flash-flooding rains of 2017, many changes are forced upon us whether we want them, or not.

The simple growth of trees becomes a striking reference of change through a span of five years.

I didn’t find an exact matching shot, but this recent picture of the mailbox with the Wintervale flag and signs caught a corner of one tree by the road that has tripled in size.

Can you spot it in the picture on the left above, to the right of the moving van backing up the driveway?

We’ve come a long way in five years, baby. Now, without a break, we are jumping into our sixth and everything is just going to keep on growing.

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Written by johnwhays

October 20, 2017 at 6:00 am