Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘perception

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

It’s Curious

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For as much of my life as is now committed to caring for our property and animals, I find it curious that I can still have a series of days with very little contact to them. Yesterday, in celebration of our anniversary, we went out to dinner in Hudson after I got home from work.

When we returned after dark, I dropped Cyndie off at the barn so she could make her way to the chicken coop to close their access door for the night. I parked the car in the garage and headed inside to start my evening routine.

Tonight, I will be meeting the family at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis to celebrate Julian’s birthday. This will lead to another night of arriving home after dark, not even seeing either the horses or chickens.

During my work weeks, it can happen that I’m completely disconnected from the activities of our ranch for a few days. It’s a little disorienting for me.

Especially since the most orienting thing of all for me is when I am able to spend time with our animals.

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Written by johnwhays

September 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Thinking Ahead

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One of the things about writing daily for a blog is the consistency of repeatedly coming upon the start of a new month. It keeps happening over and over again, I tell you. Like clockwork. Like turning pages of a calendar.

Somehow, we have reached the beginning of the month of August. Goodbye, July.

If I were sincerely successful in achieving the art of always living in the present moment, this transition to a new month would take on a lot less significance. But, August just oozes end of summer and throws me headlong into mental images of September.

The local media can’t stop talking about the great Minnesota State Fair already, which is the very definition of the start of September to me.

Cyndie served up locally grown sweet corn for dinner last night, because they grocery store had just received a batch and staff were in process of setting it out as she walked by the display. Summer may be a time for corn on the cob, but just-picked sweet corn is a delight that happens in August here and it always seems to end as quickly as it starts. If I blink while eating it, the school year will be starting by the time my eyes open.

And if ‘back to school’ ads in every form aren’t bad enough, the frighteningly early appearance of school buses on the road in August distorts every effort to avoid the trap of thinking ahead. Bus drivers are busy training and learning routes, so my mind leaps to planning how to time my travels to miss their constant stopping when the kids show up.

News reports from NFL training camps are all triggering a dormant remnant of youthful passion for the sport that always finds ways to rekindle within me despite my better judgement. Football is a mashup of fall associations that pulls all the way into winter and a playoff season that flows past the new year.

That definitely goes against staying grounded in the here and now.

Ultimately, there is one aspect that towers above all the rest of the issues of August. One that tears me away from the present moment in an ever-so-subtle –yet not so subtle at all– change that is absolutely happening in the precise minutes of each and every late-July/early-August day. It is the constant slipping of the sunrise and sunset times.

The first time I notice it is suddenly dark when I am leaving for work in the morning, I feel an uncanny urge to wear a flannel shirt. I start wondering where I stashed my driving gloves last April. I notice a nagging compulsion to fill the firewood rack on the back deck.

Today may only be August 1st, but this time of year unleashes a flood of energy dragging me uncontrollably ahead into September and beyond.

Actually, it’s all probably just a symptom of the powerful true root cause… Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year.

Happy August everyone!

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Winter Indeed

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I thought it was going to stop snowing early in the day, based on the way the radar looked in the morning, but the flakes just kept falling the whole time I was out shoveling and plowing yesterday. That really messes with my perfectionism for having a clean driveway and walkways.

It is fascinating to me how dramatically life changes between summer and winter. In summer, I get to walk out the door without a thought. Now I pause at the front door for 5 minutes and put on several additional layers of clothes, boots, hat & mittens. It’s the way of winter.

dscn5555eIt has been a long time since I plowed snow with the Grizzly, but in minutes I was back in the routine. Down with the blade, forward gear. Up with the blade, reverse. Back and forth, to and fro. Snow flowing off the blade, off the driveway, and into the ditch.

Summer is a distant memory. I am now fully in winter mode and it feels totally normal to be so. The repetitive motion of shoveling and plowing becomes something of a meditation for me. Meditation with grunting and sweating, that is.

I suppose it’s not much different from mowing the grass in summer.

They just seem worlds apart to me.

I noticed yesterday how my mindset changes dramatically with the seasons, in terms of what is most important. In the spring and summer I work diligently to rake out the gravel from the grass beside the driveway. As I plowed the snow off the gravel driveway yesterday, I had no problem shifting the priority to removing the snow without worrying about pushing gravel up onto the grass.

What matters in this moment isn’t always the same as what matters in another.

Today, snow and cold are the prominent attention grabbers. Winter, indeed.

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Written by johnwhays

December 12, 2016 at 7:00 am

Days Happen

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dscn5459eDespite our lofty plans and petty concerns, time marches on. Days happen, one right after the other. The present moment unfurls and that quickly becomes history. Last night, I was struck by a reference in a PBS Frontline story to research done in the archives for information from 1977. Was that really that long ago?

I guess so.

Today I am struck anew by the amazing place where I now reside. As the year 2016 nears the twelfth month, we have become ever more normalized with our rolling hills and areas of hardwood forest. We have slowly developed new trails and arranged sections of fenced pasture. It is becoming a reflection of us and the animals now living here.

In the relatively short time we have been here, the neighborhood has changed noticeably. We are currently in the final weekend of the annual deer hunting season, an event that has quieted significantly compared to our first years on the property.

dscn5458eI’m not sure why there is less activity visible this year on the properties adjacent to us, but it’s been nice to have fewer sights and sounds to trigger Delilah into the fits of unnecessary outbursts she feels called to deliver. I wish I could attribute her good behavior to a continued maturation, but evidence hints otherwise.

It’s quite possible that her presence alone is a factor in relocating local hunters to more distant acres, although she isn’t chasing all the deer off. We still see them around with regularity. More likely, what has moved the hunters away is the combined activity of the horses and humans roving around here along with her on a daily basis.

Life is happening here everyday. And as soon as I chronicle it, the stories become archived in the “Previous Somethings.”

Time marches on.

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Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

It’s Silly

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It’s silly, I know, but I can’t help thinking maybe somehow that is the secret to what makes it so. Silly, that is. Like a dream that makes sense, only it doesn’t at all. Time gets all mixed up, and the characters, too. How can the ages of people get all misconstrued? Even those who’ve passed on show up, still doing what they do.

Well, there are those who see this as not dreamy at all. It’s actually explainable in their point of view, with time being hardly linear and spirits always present, yet mostly unseen. It is exactly what is happening, like a coupon being redeemed. There for the taking, if we choose to direct our attention in the general direction of effect.

To be aware, or be not. That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to notice what is there all along, stumbling and rushing through mere air without care, or bumbling along just the same, yet with a certain savoir faire.

It’s energy, is all. An emanating, radiating field of unscientific particle waves. It’s anger or love that flows with abandon in directions intended, or not, at speeds and distances that defy what’s made sense since the time we left caves.

See, feel, and touch all you can possibly reach, then know, like the molecules too small to detect, there is more making contact than we’ll ever be aware, even those who detect what most of us perceive as not being there.

I choose sending love, whenever I can. Forward and back, even through time, just in case it might work. To those whom I know and even more, those I don’t. It would be silly, I think, to believe it a risk. I’m sending love, yes indeed, even while writing all of this.

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Written by johnwhays

September 30, 2016 at 7:54 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