Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘joy

Eventual Success

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We finally got the break in our weather that allowed us to deal with all the leaves on the front lawn yesterday. How many weeks have I been whining about this issue?

You don’t have to answer that. It was a rhetorical question.

I am well aware of how long this dilemma has been dragging on. I have been looking at it every day since the big oak tree over the driveway suddenly let go of more leaves all at once than in all the previous years that we’ve lived here.

It was a big year for acorns, so maybe the two things are related. The tree put so much energy into growing acorns that it let go of the leaves in greater volume than usual? Yeah, that’s stated as a question. I have no actual knowledge on the subject.

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We had some help on the project yesterday. The chickens were very interested in all this scratchin’ that was going on and came up to check things out. If I wasn’t working fast enough for them, they would step into the leaves and start clawing away themselves to get at the goods.

It looked to me as though they just peck at the ground after invisible nothings, but pausing to crouch down and get up close and personal with one of the Australorps, I was surprised to see it pick up a big fat green caterpillar that I had no idea was there.

I sure hope all the pecking they are doing is reducing the tick and fly population that would otherwise emerge to trouble us next spring. The current brood of nine are covering a surprising range of territory with impressive thoroughness, based on the cute little scratching circles they leave behind throughout our forest floor.

The weather finally warmed above freezing enough that the ground surface was just pliable enough to give up the leaves, but the annoying push-up tunnels of moles and voles were still solid. It made for some all-terrain raking complications.

Unfortunately, some precipitation moved in with the warmth, so after we barely finished with the front yard, it started to rain. Now the ground is frozen beneath a thin slippery wet layer to give us something else to chirp about.

Will I ever be content with the way things are? Eventually.

Beyond the surface of petty complaints I am so deft at plying, I am more content than ever. Just yesterday I was pointing out how much simple joy the chickens bring every day. I had no idea how much pleasure they would provide.

Regarding the art of reframing all my petty whining, I am visualizing eventual success.

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Written by johnwhays

November 24, 2018 at 11:01 am

Relishing Serendipity

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Maybe it was related to our pending departure to the lake with our precious friends, Barb and Mike, that had me feeling particularly giddy, but when additional serendipity iced my cake, I was moved to relish it to the fullest.

Several times this week, we were striving to match schedules with the auto body shop to apply some last touches to conclude, once and for all, the repairs related to my deer incident. It took three more tries than it should have, but yesterday they completed the task and I was on my way to pick it up.

On the drive, I received a call from the hardware store surprising me with news that our trimmer repair was already completed. I would be able to pick it up on my way back home, saving an extra trip.

That eliminated the immediate concern over deciding whether to buy a second trimmer, or not. Another occasion to add to my history of delaying decisions long enough that an answer ends up materializing all on its own.

Now, if all has gone according to plan, this morning we are up at the lake for the weekend again. After the last two visits, when the internet connection was unusually dubious, I have chosen to fall back on my old vacation mode of scheduling a few “Relative Something” posts in advance.

My car is done, the trimmer is repaired, the hay-field is getting cut, and we are off with friends for the weekend.

I am relishing the blessings and last evening’s serendipity to the fullest.

Here’s to practicing the art of soaking up the joys available in the everyday.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

Sixty Years

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Sunday evening was definitely the grand finale of the weekend family celebration of Cyndie’s milestone birthday. It would have been easy to confuse the occasion with a Friswold Christmas dinner for a number of reasons, most noticeably, the inclusion of the artificial tree (left up all year in the rarely used basement these days).

Cyndie’s parents and brothers planned, prepared, put together, and pulled off one heck of a spectacular customized evening to give the birthday girl exactly what she wanted, and more.

With tie-dye patterned flags and a “peace” banner adorning the tree, they presented a basket filled with a wide variety of crazy photos of Cyndie in every stage of life. Family members took turns selecting photos to hang on the tree, presenting each with a personal message for the girl.

Love overflowed. The tree and Cyndie glowed.

Fred offered readings from some ancestors’ letters providing fabulous historic perspective, followed by a powerful statement written recently by brother Ben, addressing present-day issues. The profound meaning of this sharing was perfect for an occasion to honor and celebrate Cyndie, especially with honorary “adopted” sister, Rabi, from Kenya present (who surprised Cyndie by flying in from out-of-town for the event).

There was also a light-hearted reading from Marie, ala the custom-composed candy prose she masterfully wrote and designed. I didn’t see if Cyndie, or nieces and nephews, ended up with the haul when it was deconstructed.

Marie set out well-loved appetizer choices and Carlos enlisted assistants to put finishing touches on place settings for dinner. Truly works of art that lifted the evening to out-of-this-world (and incomparable) levels.

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The meal was some of Marie’s best beef tenderloin ever, garnished with just the right compliment of potato, vegetables, salad, and bread. Of course that was finished with Norwegian Cream and some obligatory birthday cake.

It was truly a wonderful evening. The best of everything family. There is no questioning the Friswold’s ability to put on a special birthday party.

The entire weekend was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate sixty years of Cyndie’s amazing life.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

General Goodness

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It’s been a quiet day in Lake Wo-Wintervale-begon. The weather was mild all weekend, the trail cam continues to capture rabbits and squirrels, and progress on my wood sculpting art project has advanced, but not enough to stand out in pictures. Trust me. I considered showing them here today, but the results were too emphatically underwhelming.

The horses have been emanating incredibly peaceful vibes, Delilah is mostly behaving, and Pequenita endlessly seeks hands-on attention from me. Cyndie has been extraordinarily productive with creative abundance from her kitchen. I stand around wondering how to at least be ‘above average,’ never sure how to achieve the ‘good looking’ descriptor that Mr. Keillor tosses around.Depression-Free Zone

We’re at one of those points where, in my past life, I would respond with a multitude of reasons for a gloomy outlook. It is a precious thing to have forged a path above and beyond that inclination, and to be able to relax and absorb the absence of dilemma today; to actually feel joyous, in fact.

Sure, the Check Engine Light still comes on in my car after every time the shop resets it, but I’m not stressin’ that. It is what it is. Things are mighty fine in general, and being able to appreciate that goodness, without struggling so to do, is icing on a cake that I get to have, and eat, too!

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Written by johnwhays

February 23, 2016 at 7:00 am

What Joy?

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What joy is there to be had when terror is sown to disrupt normalcy in places defenseless and random?

Is it possible to feel joy over the vast number of young people who do not fall prey to the sickness of mind that leads a person to justify becoming a terrorizing murderer? Most people are actually sane, after all.

Oddly, yesterday, almost as if in reaction to the illness that revealed itself in the acts of terrorism in Paris, Delilah spent the day vomiting, over and over. Her energy dwindled with each episode, eventually culminating in her putting herself to bed two hours early.

Yet, healthy joy continues to exist, despite the never-ending ripples that disrupt it. It started for us this morning with the happy expression on Delilah’s face and her ability to eat some scrambled eggs.

Yesterday afternoon, I stood in the paddock while the horses finished their afternoon feed, and absorbed their calmness. They didn’t exude joy in that moment, but they offered peace.

The world recoils in horror for the moment, but joy and peace rise from the dust. If it starts in distant rural areas, like ours, it can make its way back to the cities and people who live on the front lines of conflict.

There is joy. Feel free to allow it to sprout again and blossom for you. Let it glow and grow for the rest of the world.

The world will feel it.

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Written by johnwhays

November 15, 2015 at 10:34 am

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Horse Joy

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John and Cyndie playing with horses; two pictures that I did not take. Thank you to Julie Kuberski for the beautiful photo of Cyndie exercising Legacy in our arena space. I realize that I just included a picture I had taken of Cyndie and “Legs” doing this same exercise a couple of days ago, but this image by Julie is just too wonderful to pass up.

The other one, Cyndie took with my new rugged-duty, waterproof camera. I carry it in one of my pockets most of the time, so it gets exposed to a lot of dust and dirt. There is a sacrifice of some image quality, but it gets the job done well enough to tell the story. I am interacting with Cayenne in this shot.

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.Horse wisdom is bringing us great joy.

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Written by johnwhays

August 4, 2014 at 6:00 am

Pure Joy

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IMG_3836eEven though there was much in the way of work being done on the main day of ‘Work Weekend,’ at the lake place we call Wildwood, there was no shortage of fun in the endeavors of the day.

After toiling away on the beach to reclaim the area from the unending processes of Mother Nature to take over our sandy little oasis, I pitched in, literally, to help others in improving the landscape in front of the lodge. The grass grows really well in the spaces near the building where it isn’t wanted, and I assisted with digging it up using a garden fork that looked like a very close relative of the pitch fork that has become one of my primary tools at home. A beautiful array of perennials were planted into the newly turned soil.

IMG_3843eThroughout the tasks, conversations blossomed in an annual renewing of connection with members of the community who scatter to their city lives for most of the winter.

Taking a pause from the work, I stopped back to the house where Cyndie was resting her hip and reading a book. I sat with her for a bit, until I noticed she had nodded off into a nap. Figuring I might as well go get my computer to take advantage of the time, I climbed the stairs to our room, finding my laptop beside the great big bed. Since she was already asleep, I figured I didn’t need to take it back downstairs to be in her proximity, and so laid on the bed to check in with the world.

I awoke in a slobbery mess of drool, after a most delicious unplanned nap of my own.

Hearing the words, “soccer game,” I descended the stairs to rejoin humanity and rediscovered how much joy I get from playing the beautiful game. I think it started as 4-v-4, but soon grew to include more people than the space actually allows. Maybe that is why the decision gets made that we won’t use borders, and play continues regardless the fact the ball is within the jungle gym play area, around the SUV parked on the driveway, or even behind the goals, like a game of hockey.

Slowly, in a reverse of how the numbers swelled to the maximum, players wander off to other pursuits, often without saying a thing. After battling situations that feel a lot like playing short-handed in a game of hockey, the game is paused and a player volunteers to switch so play can resume with reasonable balance. In the end, it came down to me facing one last challenge from 6-year-old nephew, Beck, for some 1-v-1.

He said, “Go over to your goal.”

“No, that’s an awful long way away. Let’s just play a small game right here,” I encouraged.

He kicked the ball around me and headed the length of the field to ‘my goal.’ What could I do? I chased after him to protect my goal. He was a tenacious foe and I soon realized he would not quit until he succeeded in getting that ball in the net. I was tired and wanted to be done, so I provided an opportunity. He missed. The ball rolled wide. A few near-misses later, the ball found the target and he was satisfied. Game over.

Pure joy.

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Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2014 at 8:17 am